Russia says one of its space station computers failed but two others are A-OK


A black-and-white view of the International Space Station is overlaid with telemetry data in an image from an approaching Soyuz craft in 2014. (NASA TV)

One of the three computers on the Russian side of the International Space Station has crashed, but orbital operations are unaffected because the two other systems are in working order, Russia’s space agency reported today.

“To restore the computer to work, it is necessary to restart it,” Roscosmos said in a status report. That will happen on Thursday.

Roscosmos said the two other computer systems are sufficient for safe operation of the station indefinitely, but it wants the third one back online “to ensure the reliability” of next week’s scheduled docking with an uncrewed Russian Progress cargo spacecraft.

The computer glitch was the latest in a string of technical failures involving Russian space hardware. In August, the space station’s crew had to plug up an air leak in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that’s currently docked to the station. And last month, a Soyuz rocket suffered an anomaly that aborted the launch of two new crew members to the station.

Last week, Russian investigators traced the rocket failure to a bent sensor and cleared Soyuz rockets for a series of launches, leading up to the delivery of a different set of spacefliers in December. In the meantime, the Russians are planning a spacewalk this month to check out the Soyuz air leak from the outside.

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