NASA Reports Space Station Communications Outage Fixed
Communications are back up between NASA and the International Space Station after a brief glitch happened shortly after a software upgrade.
NASA Mars Mission: No Little Green Men -- Yet
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
NASA briefly lost communication Tuesday morning with the International Space Station (ISS) when a data relay system "malfunctioned" during a routine update to the space station's flight computers, NASA said.
According to an announcement on NASA's website, the ISS lost all communication with controllers and others on the ground at about 9:45 a.m. Eastern. Communication was restored as of 12:34 p.m. Eastern, according to Johnson Space Center.
The computer that controls critical station functions faulted over to a backup computer during the upgrade so that those functions could continue to be performed, but the system was no longer communicating with NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, a series of geosynchronous satellites used to facilitate communication between spacecraft and NASA's ground stations.
During the communication break, space station commander Col. Kevin Ford was able to briefly radio the ground as the station passed over ground stations in Russia with news that the station and its astronauts were all safe and that other than the communication problem, systems were generally operating normally. "Everybody's in good shape," Ford said in audio posted to NASA's website.
In the hours before the software upgrade, Canadian astronaut and current ISS resident Chris Hadfield, who recently hosted an online interview on Reddit from the space station, mentioned the software upgrade on Twitter, but claimed in his Tweet that "[n]othing could possibly go wrong."
Although NASA hasn't yet fully pinpointed the cause of the communication error, the space agency in late January launched the new Tracking and Data Relay Satellite K (TDRS-K), representing the first upgrade to the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System since 2002. At the time of the launch, NASA officials called the launch the beginning of an effort to "replenish our aging space network."
The ISS is a $100 billion-plus multinational space laboratory that began construction in 1998 and was first manned in 2000. The station contains a number of pressurized chambers including numerous cargo bays, docking ports, laboratories and a number of other elements such as robotic arms, battery units and solar arrays.
Six astronauts are currently on board the ISS, including Ford, Hadfield, Tom Mashburn and Russian crewmembers Oleg Novitiskiy, Evgeny Tarelkin and Roman Romanenko.
Cloud Connect returns to Silicon Valley, April 2-5, 2013, for four days of lectures, panels, tutorials and roundtable discussions on a comprehensive selection of cloud topics taught by leading industry experts. Join us in Silicon Valley to see new products, keep up-to-date on industry trends and create and strengthen professional relationships. Use Priority Code TLIWEEK by March 2 to save an extra $100 off the early bird price of Conference Passes. Register for Cloud Connect now.
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security EnterpriseTo learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
IT Strategies to Conquer the CloudChances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.