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NASA loses regular communication with ISS

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-02-20 04:55

WASHINGTON - The US space agency NASA announced on Tuesday that flight controllers lost regular communication with the International Space Station (ISS) in the morning, but the station was fine and the crew was doing well.

According to an alert from NASA, Houston's Mission Control was updating software of the space station's onboard flight computers at 8:45 a.m. EDT (1245 GMT) when one of the station's data relay systems malfunctioned. Although a backup computer took over critical station functions from the primary computer, the station lost all communication, voice and command from Houston.

About an hour later, while flying over Russia, station commander Kevin Ford was able to briefly radio Moscow that everyone was well and they were working on the problem.

"This is the same way they used to do it in the 1960s, with Gemini and Apollo," NASA spokesman Josh Byerly said. "The crew is working on this, and they'll get it back up and running."

The ISS, which is carrying one American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, does not appear to be in danger.

"It's not a panicked mood that takes over mission control," Byerly said. "Anybody who's been here has seen that."

Byerly said the problem should be fixed later on Tuesday. Until then, astronauts can talk with Moscow control for a few minutes every 90 minutes.

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