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Russia restores comms with space station after roadworks cut cable

Can you hear me Major Tim?*

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Russia restored its communications with the International Space Station and satellites this morning after repairing a cable in Moscow that had been damaged during roadworks, Russian space agency Roscosmos has announced.

Roadworks in Moscow actually interrupted space traffic yesterday as an accidentally severed cable cut Russia's communication links with its space hardware overnight.

The hardware didn't seem unusually bothered, and communications with the International Space Station were routed through the USA for the duration, but when the link went down yesterday, the Russian space agency was saying it could take 48 hours to get comms back online - though it seems that was a worst-case scenario.

"They can see the crew and can talk to them, but they cannot send any commands to the Russian segments" an unnamed source told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti at the time, though it seems the interruption was short-lived as backup systems kicked in.

The fallback, routing comms though America, seems to have worked effectively and the incident won't change the scheduled return of half the ISS crew next week (19 November) who'll be replaced a month later - returning the ISS to its full complement of six.

"The crew trains for this and it's a normal routine to work without communication," the Russian head of human space flight, Sergei Krikalyev, told the ITAR-TASS news agency. ®

Bootnote

*The only British astronaut, Major Tim Peake, has yet to fly in space. As and when he does, however, it will be on a mission to the ISS so we think this subhead is justifiable.

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