Critical Computer Failure On The International Space Station

Critical Computer Failure On The International Space Station

Nasa astronauts are being scrambled for an emergency spacewalk on the International Space Station (ISS) after critical control systems failed over the weekend.

Astronauts have conducted exactly 200 spacewalks in their ongoing upkeep of the International Space Station (ISS), but when Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer step out on Tuesday, the maneuver will be with an added sense of urgency.

The hardware failure involves a multiplexer-demultiplexer (MDM) data relay box located on the S0 truss and used to control "radiators, solar arrays, cooling loops and other station hardware". They also route commands to other vital station systems.

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NASA astronauts conducted a similar mission in April 2014 when crewmembers Steve Swanson and Rick Mastracchio installed a spare MDM after the original failed during a routine systems check.

The cause of the MDM failure is not yet known.

She already is the world's most experienced female spacewalker and ranks fifth in the world overall with 57 hours and 35 minutes of EVA time over nine excursions. Everything checked out. Now, Whitson and Fischer are getting all the tools ready and giving their spacesuits a thorough check ahead of tomorrow's spacewalk. The primary device failed on Saturday.

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The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, which will be launched atop the Falcon 9 rocket, will carry and deliver crew supplies, equipment and scientific research to astronauts who live aboard the ISS. While such events seem unsafe, this is not the first time that NASA had to do an emergency spacewalk.

On Sunday, Whitson spent her day assembling the new MDM, measuring 10.5 x 14.9 x 16.4 inches and this is the unit that will be installed by astronauts on Tuesday. Fischer will be designated as EV-2, wearing a suit with no stripes. The spacewalk will begin about 8:00 am ET.

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