Good news greeted space station flight controllers this morning when, shortly after awakening, Expedition Two flight engineer Susan Helms reported that the International Space Station computer systems may be returning to normal.
Working at a laptop computer aboard the station that serves as the crews primary interface with the stations United States command and control computer system, Helms relayed the good news about 3:45 a.m. Shortly afterward, Helms performed a series of troubleshooting steps that restored the grounds ability to monitor and send commands to the stations U.S. systems.
Space station flight controllers then sent commands that have put the stations systems in a better configuration in the event computer problems recur today. They also sent commands that transmitted data to the ground from the station computers to allow technicians to thoroughly analyze their hardware and software as part of the investigation that is under way to determine the cause of the computer problems.
Today, the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard Endeavour will continue joint work to reload the Raffaello Logistics Module with unneeded station equipment and supplies for return to Earth. The crews have completed unloading the 4,000 pounds of equipment that Raffaello carried to the station. While the reloading of Raffaello takes place, flight controllers will continue their analysis of the station computers. The station command and control computer brought on line early this morning has continued to be fully functional and operate normally throughout the day. Controllers are working to bring another such computer online as a backup system later today. The recovery of the one command and control computer during the night is believed to have resulted from an automatic sequence aboard the station that powered each of the three command and control computers on and off in an attempt to bring them on line. The other two computers remained off line, however.
Given continued success with the computer recovery, the shuttle and station crews will resume work with the stations new Canadarm2 and the shuttles robotic arm on Friday, handing off a 3,000-pound Spacelab Pallet from the station arm to the shuttle arm to store the pallet back in Endeavours payload bay. A practice run with the new station arm to rehearse moves the arm must make during the next shuttle assembly mission to the station to attach a new airlock also will be conducted on Friday.
A second reboost of the stations altitude remains planned for later today. It will be an hour-long jet firing by Endeavour that will raise the complexs altitude by almost 4½ miles. The two spacecraft are now orbiting the Earth every 92 minutes at an altitude of 243 statute miles. The next status report will be issued this evening at the end of the crews day or as events warrant.
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