Feeds

Atlantis readies for departure after ISS computer repairs

Records galore for astronaut Williams

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The computers on the International Space Station (ISS) are all fixed, and the crew of the shuttle Atlantis have completed their final spacewalk and are now preparing for the journey home. The guidance system is due for a final test today.

The astronauts had a busy weekend, completing two spacewalks as well as reviving the computer system in the Russian section of the ISS. On their spacewalks, NASA's mission specialists stitched together a torn section of insulation on the space shuttle, and finished installing the new solar power unit.

Another day, another space walk. Credit: NASA TV

Another day, another space walk. Credit: NASA TV

On Sunday, astronauts Patrick Forrester and Steven Swanson went outside to finish off the installation of the space station's new starboard sections three and four (S3/S4). Most of the work was involved with activating the section's rotary joint, which lets the panels track the sun.

It is the new power unit that is thought to have triggered the computer crash which took out the ISS's guidance system and environmental controls. While the computers were down, the shuttle has been providing attitude control with its thrusters.

ESA's cargo module, due to be delivered and installed on the next mission to the ISS, has the same computer system as the Russian section of the ISS. As you might imagine, it is now going through some fairly rigorous tests to make sure it is not similarly vulnerable.

You might, earlier in the weekend, have seen the footage of astronaut John "Danny" Olivas fixing the hole in the thermal blanket. If not, check it out in NASA's video gallery. Mostly it is fairly dull: a man in thick gloves tries to complete a fiddly task using a medical stapler. But every now and then, the cameras give you a glimpse of the world below hurtling by at 17,500mph.

And that is truly astonishing.

As well as all that, astronaut Sunita Williams has added to her collection of records by becoming the woman with the longest continuous flight in space. She pipped previous record holder Shannon Lucid, who logged 188 days and four hours in 1996. During the mission, she has also taken the record for the longest time a woman has spent spacewalking, and for the first ever marathon competed in orbit.

Williams will join the departing NASA astronauts when they leave the station. The departure is scheduled for 6:23 pm EDT, but NASA is ready to extend the mission by another day if the test of the ISS's guidance system does not go well. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.