Good to see that construction on the ISS is continuing, although not without some hiccups. There was a problem with the command and control computers in the Russian segment – all six crashed simultaneously, a failure that must have really gotten the attention of everybody on board, and everybody in mission control. Four days of troubleshooting led to a work-around that has the computers back up and operational, but the work-around leaves me a little uneasy. The exact source of the problem is still under investigation, but the immediate symptom was that the surge protection on the computers’ power supply would trip. The ‘fix’ was to have the ISS crew use jumper cables to bypass the surge protectors.
I’m sure that’s a configuration they wont want to stay in for very long.
In the meantime, the visit by shuttle Atlantis and the installation of the new s3/s4 truss and solar array wing went pretty smoothly. Atlantis had a problem with a thermal protection blanket on one of the orbital maneuvering system pods peeling back, but with a little ingenuity and a medical stapler, spacewalking astronaut Danny Olivas has tacked it back down again. Luckily, the problem was in a place where there is not enough thermal heating on re-entry to place the shuttle in danger.
This photo of the ISS, taken by the departing shuttle, gives a good overview of the changed station layout. It sure looks bigger and better with that new solar array wing on board.