November 14, 2012
Credit: Credit: Paolo Nespoli
Russia’s space agency scrambled to reconfigure communications with civilian satellites and the International Space Station Nov. 14 after a cable broke outside Moscow, but said the satellites and the station were operating normally.
The space agency, Roskosmos, offered assurances after state-run news agency RIA cited an unnamed source as saying Russia lost the ability to control most of its civilian satellites and send commands to its segment of the space station.
“The cable break ... is not affecting the functioning of Russian satellites and the International Space Station,” Roskosmos spokesman Alexei Kuznetsov said. He said the agency was able to communicate with the satellites and control them.
Kuznetsov said a cable had broken during work by a construction company at an unspecified site northeast of Moscow.
RIA cited its source as saying the broken cable would not be repaired for at least 48 hours. It also cited a separate source saying military satellites had not been affected.
After the break, the source said, contact with facilities on the ground around Russia that communicate with civilian satellites had been lost.
“Specialists have lost the ability to control civilian satellites and issue commands to the Russian segment of the ISS,” the source was quoted as saying, adding: “They see crew and can speak to them.”
Kuznetsov said the cable break “did not lead to loss of control of orbital facilities, including the ISS, because reconfiguration of the operations of ground-based control facilities was conducted”.
RIA cited a source as saying the problem could delay the departure of a Russian, an American and a Japanese astronaut from the station, scheduled for Nov. 19.