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Space Station’s System Knocked Out

February 4, 2002

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ A computer failure knocked out the international space station’s guidance system Monday and prevented the power-generating solar wings from pointing toward the sun.

To conserve power, the three men aboard the space station turned off secondary equipment as a precaution.

Mission Control commentator James Hartsfield stressed that the two American astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut were in no danger, and that the problem had merely interrupted their work.

The central computer in the Russian-built living quarters had stopped working for unknown reasons. It was restarted by Russian flight controllers soon afterward, but was expected to take several hours before becoming fully operational, NASA officials said.

The orientation-control system went off-line as a result of the computer failure, causing the space station to drift through orbit without the ability to point its solar wings directly at the sun to generate much-needed electricity. The space station’s communication system also was hampered.

Commander Yuri Onufrienko and his crew, Carl Walz and Daniel Bursch, are two months into their mission, which is to continue until May.


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