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NASA to Send Resupply Mission despite Technical Problems

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided to proceed with its resupply mission, despite technical problems with its computer in the International Space Station (ISS), as it needed to deliver necessary supplies.

By Julie S | Apr 14, 2014 07:52 AM EDT

NASA to Send Resupply Mission despite Technical Problems
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided to proceed with its resupply mission, despite technical problems with its computer in the International Space Station (ISS), as it needed to deliver necessary supplies. (Photo : NASA)

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided to proceed with its resupply mission, despite technical problems with its computer in the International Space Station (ISS), as it needed to deliver necessary supplies.

The back-up computer, located outside the ISS, malfunctioned on Friday - it remained shutdown when activated. This computer is more than 10 years old and served as a back-up for the railcar of the robot arm, the thermal cooling system, solar-wing rotating joints, and more.

Fortunately, the main computer was working properly, and the crew remained safe. After debating Sunday if they will still push through with the resupply mission and realizing that the delivery has been delayed for almost a month, the managers decided to approve the launch.

Mike Suffredini, program manager for the NASA space station, affirmed to Chron that the situation is safe and that "we're good to go." Additionally, they cannot delay the Dragon's resupply mission as it needed to deliver new spacesuits, repair parts for the older spacesuits, and most especially, food.

"There's a certain amount of urgency to go ahead and get these vehicles" at the space station because these are needed for space station operations," he added.

The faulty back-up computer, on the other hand, needs to be replaced, and someone needs to spacewalk and do it.

A couple of astronauts will do the replacement on April 22. They will be dressed in new spacesuits with new fan parts to avoid the near-disaster event that had happened last summer.

Since 2011, when NASA's workhorses for station shipments retired, the space agency has been paying SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp., to keep the space station well-stocked.

When the Dragon soars, the space station's solar panels would be positioned into its rightful spots for its arrival. Once the solar panels are placed properly, any complications from computer breakdowns will be avoided, especially now that the Sun's position is favorable for thermal conditions at the outpost.

Aside from the faulty back-up computer, there are still other multiplexer-demultiplexers, or MDMs, placed outside the space station.

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