NASA has announced that it briefly lost contact with the International Space Station on Tuesday. The ISS was out of contact with ground controllers after some sort of computer problem blocked communications. NASA says that the computer issue lasted just under three hours.
The ISS commander said that the space station and crew was fine during the communications blackout. The communications problem stemmed from a software update that flight controllers in Houston were uploading to the space station's flight computers. During the upload, the space stations data relay system broke down.
NASA says that the primary computer designed control critical station functions defaulted to a backup computer but the space station was unable to communicate. The space station has to be able to communicate with the NASA Tracking and Data Relay satellites to communicate with ground controllers. NASA reports that flight controllers in Houston were able to communicate with the ISS as the space station flew over Russian ground control stations.
Ground controllers told the ISS crew at the time to connect to a backup computer and begin restoring communications. Apparently, all functions onboard the ISS are normal at this time. There are currently six astronauts aboard the space station including two Americans, three Russians, and a Canadian.
[via The Hindu Business Online]