A computer glitch prevented the undocking of the European ATV-3 cargo vehicle from ISS today.


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A computer glitch prevented the undocking of the European ATV-3 cargo vehicle from ISS today.

Undocking of the European Space Agency’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle, or ATV, from the aft port of the Zvezda module had been scheduled for 6:35 p.m. EDT (GMT-4). Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko attempted to send a command to begin the undocking sequence on time, but the command apparently never reached the docking mechanism.

I am not sure what will happen if they cannot pin down the problem. For example, it is unclear whether the cargo vehicle can be reprogrammed to be manually controlled. Also, it presently blocks a docking port. Is that port needed for the next ATV freighter as well as for other craft, such as Progress freighters? If so, this could become a serious problem.

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