A relatively short spacewalk outside the International Space Station earlier today resulted in NASA astronauts repairing a dead computer. This particular computer system was critical to future missions, and the mission took less than an hour while original projections suggested it’d take between an hour and three hours.
This mission began at 9:56 AM EDT and concluded before 11AM rolled around. NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson aimed to replace their downed computer and did so with quick success, this after the module had been in place for a cool 10 year period.
This device was a Multiplexer-Demultiplexer, also known as an MDM. Its job was to act as a backup computer for command routing throughout the ISS’ critical systems – this includes the space station’s solar arrays, robotic arm rail car, and other oddities.
When this mission took place, Mastracchio asked Mission Control where they were in proximity to the Earth. Over South America was his answer, to which he replied “a great view” – also reminding his crew-mate to stop for a moment and take in the vision.
The MDM was one of 45 on the International Space Station, 24 of them inside the station’s more human-friendly areas, the rest on the outside like this just-repaired unit.