During an update to flight computers earlier this morning, the International Space Station lost communications with ground controllers in Houston, but now everything is back up, according to NASA. The blackout lasted about three hours, during which time the station was able to communicate with ground control in Moscow.
Flight controllers were updating the station's flight software Tuesday morning when the ISS' data relay stations malfunctioned around 9:45 a.m. Eastern time. While the station flew above Russia about an hour later, mission control in Houston was able to check on the crew--they're fine--and instruct them to connect a backup computer to restore communications. That happened around 12:30 p.m. Eastern time, NASA said.
The problem stemmed from a computer that would not let the station talk to NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellites. The ISS does have a ham radio on board for emergency communications, but that wasn't necessary today.
Commander Chris Hadfield apparently may have seen this whole thing coming. The best news is that now he can start tweeting again.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.