Things are getting back to normal on the International Space Station following a roughly three-hour communications blackout. The issues arose in the morning hours of Tuesday, Feb. 18, when flight controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, uploaded new software to the orbiting laboratory. Communications were not impacted with ground stations in Russia, and the Expedition 34 used this link to eventually resolve the problem.
The whole affair lasted just over three hours, with communications dropping out at 9:45 a.m. EST and then being restored at approximately 12:34 p.m. EST. Controllers had the Expedition 34 crew switch to a backup computer, which apparently helped to resolve the problem.
In a now ironic Twitter message just an hour before the communications loss, Chris Hadfield, with the Canadian Space Agency, tweeted about the computer upgrade, saying the following: “Good Morning, Earth! Today we transition the Space Station’s main computers to a new software load. Nothing could possibly go wrong.”