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NASA Uses Russian Communications With ISS as Houston HQ Suffers Power Outage

In this photo provided by NASA, backdropped against clouds over Earth, the International Space Station is seen from Space Shuttle Discovery as the two orbital spacecraft accomplish their relative separation on March 7, 2011InternationalIndiaAfricaLaunched in November 1998, the International Space Station’s objective is to conduct research in a microgravity environment, serving as a testbed for space systems and encouraging global cooperation in space exploration. NASA intends to decommission the ISS by early 2030.For the first time since its full operation began in 2009, the US space agency NASA was forced to rely on backup systems to re-establish contact with astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), floating hundreds of kilometers above Earth.The unexpected incident occurred on Tuesday and lasted for approximately 90 minutes before normal communications were restored. During the outage, NASA utilized Russian communication systems to stay in touch with astronauts Frank Rubio, Woody Hoburg and Stephen Bowen, who form part of the Expedition 69 crew.The other crew members on the ISS include Roscosmos cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin, Andrey Fedyaev, and Commander Sergey Prokopyev, as well as UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi.Beyond PoliticsRussian Cosmonauts Conduct Spacewalk Outside ISS22 June, 13:52 GMTNASA assured the public there was no danger to the crew or the space station itself. Space station program manager Joel Montalbano confirmed during a news conference the problem was solely on the ground, and was caused by planned upgrades to the Johnson Space Center’s power system, despite the outage itself not being anticipated.»We knew this work was going on, and in preparation for that we have the backup command and control system that we would use if we have to close the centre for weather emergency, especially important during the hurricane season,» said Montalbano.However, thanks to a well-prepared backup command and control system, NASA’s mission control managed to re-establish contact via Russian systems just 20 minutes after the power outage. The backup control center, located several miles away, also came online shortly after, ensuring smooth communication.

Now that the situation has been resolved, NASA is planning to investigate the incident thoroughly to prevent any recurrence during the remaining years of the ISS's operation.

The space station is scheduled for deorbit in 2031, and NASA aims to ensure that such unexpected power outages do not jeopardize future operations.

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