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Interview with Yury Karash

Yury Karash, an independent space analyst, commented on the continuing problems on the International Space Station.

Russia Today: So what could have caused the latest problem on board?

Y.K.: You see, each piece of sensitive electronic equipment has a power source – either built-in or external. In the case of ISS computers we are talking about external power source, the solar panels. Each power source causes interference which can disturb the work of sensitive equipment. In order to prevent this there is a filter between an external power source and a piece of electronic equipment. Apparently – of course, it’s just a theory – the addition of extra power source, the new U.S. solar panels, caused excessive interference which the filter was not able to abate. And this is why the Russian computers – in fact German computers installed in the Russian segment of the International Space Station – failed.

RT: So it’s too early to say who is to blame?

Y.K.: Definitely. And I don’t think that the answer could be like it’s Russians, or Germans, or Americans to blame, because you should always keep in mind that ISS is a very complicated installation consisting of different units and elements, and one element can fail because another didn’t do very well. It could be a chain of failures and mishaps, with no one in particular to be blamed for.

RT: The ISS is an example of different countries co-operating on one project? Do you think it might be complicating matters?

Y.K.: We are going to where no one has been before. Conquering space is a challenging and complicated goal, and it’s impossible to foresee every possible problem here. So, as I said, no one is to be blamed in this situation.

RT: Despite the problems, can we overall say that the mission has been successful?

Y.K.: Overall – of course, it has been successful, provided that those U.S. solar panels are properly deployed, and that Atlantis crew manages to address a problem of a small hole in the heat shield, and it wouldn’t jeopardise their safe return to Earth.