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  • Shuttle Astronauts Recover Failed Computer, Place Troubled Processor in Hibernation
    Posted by Mark Carreau 10:56 AM on Jul 15, 2011

    blog post photo
    Mission commander Chris Ferguson, left, pilot Doug Hurley discuss Atlantis computer issue early
    Friday.   Photo Credit/NASA TV  

    Atlantis commander Chris Ferguson and pilot Doug Hurley recovered a failed cockpit General Purpose Computer early Friday, following an overnight failure that triggered an alarm that awakened the four shuttle fliers.

    However, the troubled processor, General Purpose Computer 4, has been placed in a  "hibernation" mode while experts in NASA's Mission Control examine a dump of the software to assess the reason for the problem.

    "We all looked at each other and raced up to the flight deck," Ferguson told CBS News in a previously scheduled interview after the recovery. "It's hanging in there. We are confident it will work for entry for us."

    Atlantis encountered a similar issue with GPC-3 during the July 10 rendezvous and docking phase of the 13 day, STS-135 supply mission to the International Space Station. The Atlantis crew is scheduled to undock from the orbiting science laboratory early Tuesday and descend to Earth early July 21, ending NASA's 30-year-long space shuttle program.

    The alarm sounded just after Thursday at 6 p.m., EDT, or about 90 minutes after Ferguson, Hurley and mission specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim headed to bed aboard the shuttle. Ferguson shifted GPC-4's shuttle systems management responsibilities to GPC-2, a task that required about 40 minutes.

    The shuttle is equipped with five GPCs in the crew compartment, four of them equipped with the same operating software and one that runs a backup version. During normal orbital operations, one of the GPCs is designated for systems management and two are placed in standby.

    GPC-4 was d re-initiated early Friday and returned to normal operations before placed in a "freeze dried" mode -- ready for use if necessary.  GPCs 1 and 2 are in "run" mode, with GPC-3 in "standby," according to a NASA statement.

    Tags: os 99, NASA, space shuttle, International Space Station

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