Spacewalk may be needed to fix computer breakdown on International Space Station
Nasa has confirmed a back-up computer on the exterior of the ISS is not responding to commands
A computer breakdown on the International Space Station could require astronauts to undertake a spacewalk.
Nasa confirmed on Friday that a backup computer on the exterior of the ISS called a Multiplexer-Demultiplexer (MDM) is not responding to commands.
MDM computers control some systems associated with robotics aboard the space station. The primary MDM is functioning normally, Nasa said, and Mission Control is now trying to determine whether the back-up computer can be brought back online or must be replaced.
A replacement would involve astronauts spacewalking.
It said the computer outage does not pose an immediate risk to the six Expedition 38/39 astronauts aboard the space station, who include Mikhail Tyurin, Koichi Wakata and Rick Mastracchio. They are due to return to Earth on 14 May.
But the computers control some robotic functions that would be needed for next week's planned visit by a private SpaceX supply ship.
The ship contains nearly 5,000 pounds (2267.99 kilograms)of supplies and will return to earth with 3,500 pounds of cargo, including science results for analysis.
SpaceX is supposed to launch the unmanned Dragon capsule on Monday. Astronauts use the space station's big robot arm to grab onto the Dragon capsule and attach it to the outpost.
When Dragon is captured and berthed to the Harmony node, there will be five space vehicles parked to the international space laboratory.
NASA is still aiming for a Monday launch by SpaceX, but that could change, depending on the status of the computer.
Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt
When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...