Russians reboot space station computer


A picture taken from the International Space Station shows Japan’s robotic HTV-7 cargo ship being released from the station’s Canadian robotic arm. (ESA Photo / Alexander Gerst via Twitter)

A balky computer system is working again on the International Space Station, thanks to a reboot, the Russian space agency reported today.

“The system was tested for one and a half turns of the station’s flight around the Earth (about two hours),” Roscosmos said in an online update. “In fact, all systems tested out properly.”

The computer, one of three redundant systems, crashed earlier this week. The other two systems continued to operate normally, and operations on the orbital outpost were unaffected. Roscosmos said there was no need to replace the system that suffered the glitch.

Roscosmos didn’t go into detail about the cause of the computer crash.

The glitch was the latest in a string of technical issues affecting 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.

The quick resolution of this week’s computer problem means the three spacefliers aboard the space station can turn their attention more fully to a pair of robotic cargo deliveries scheduled to be made next week by a Russian Progress supply ship and a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo carrier.

In preparation for those deliveries, an uncrewed Japanese HTV-7 cargo ship was set loose from the station on Wednesday. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s spacecraft, filled with trash, is due to burn up during atmospheric re-entry on Saturday — but not before releasing a small capsule designed to test JAXA’s ability to return research payloads to Earth.

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