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The backup computer that helps operate ISS’s robot arms is not responding to commands.
The timing could not be worse.. Though the number one computer is functioning fine, this unit is essential for controlling the robot arm that will berth Dragon to ISS this week.
Side note: The article above described this problem in its headlines as a “glitch.” I despise this word, as it is generally used by government bureaucrats to minimize the seriousness of a failure. The Soviet era bureaucrats in Russia loved it. I have noticed it popping up in American news reports relating to space more and more, and it is never a very accurate description of the situation. This computer failure is not a “glitch,” it is a serious failure of an essential piece of hardware.
Update: Because a spacewalk will be required to fix the backup computer, NASA has okayed the launch of Dragon. They need it to arrive first because it carries a new spacesuit and other parts needed to replace the suit that almost drowned an astronaut during a spacewalk last summer.
Note: I was in the back country of Arizona this past weekend, caving, which is why I am only now getting up to speed on this weekend’s news.