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16 Jun, 2007 09:03

Spacemen fix ISS and Atlantis in orbit

American astronauts have finished repairing the thermal blanket that peeled back during the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis. Their Russian colleagues have also been successful in their attempt to re-start some of the computers that crashed at the Int

After a space walk and a computer reboot things are getting back on track at the International Space Station. Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov restarted a part of the ISS computer system that had crashed.

“Everything is fine on the International Space Station and the cosmonauts feel good. Some of the computers, which hadn't worked for several days, are functioning and we are satisfied with the skilful work of the professionals on the ISS, which was carried out over several days and enabled the efficiency of the ISS to be restored to nearly full capacity,” Igor Panarin from the Russian Federal Space Agency said.

The system in the Russian part of the station controls the correct position of the space ship in orbit and its oxygen and water supply.

Russian space specialists insisted the crew wasn’t in danger. But in the worst case scenario they could have been forced to return to Earth early. But the computers have now begun operating the cooling system in one of the space station's Russian modules – a result of several days’ manoeuvring.

Russian experts are still unsure why the computers failed. One of the main versions – a power spike after new solar panels were hooked up to the station’s U.S. section.

While the Russians were battling it out with computers, the U.S. astronauts did their third spacewalk to fix a tear in the shuttle’s thermal blanket. A gap appeared when Atlantis blasted off last Friday. The rip is now sealed, but the 11-day mission had to be extended by two days.

The Russian experts hope all systems will be fully restored within days, but believe new computers have to be brought to the orbiting station as soon as possible.