NASA says it lost contact with the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday and has been able to communicate with the station only sporadically. But NASA restored communication with the ISS later in the afternoon.
Mission Control Houston lost direct contact with the ISS at approximately 9:45 p.m. ET Tuesday.
According to NASA, contact with the ISS was lost while flight controllers in Houston were updating the software onboard the station's flight computers. One of the station's data relay systems malfunctioned during the software update.
ISS's primary computer that controls critical station functions defaulted to a backup computer, but the station was unable to communicate with NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites.
CNN writes NASA eventually got its link back with ISS. The loss in communications was not considered unprecedented, though it was thought to be a cause for concern, officials said, according to CNN.
According to NASA spokesman Josh Byerly, Mission controllers in Houston are currently able to communicate with the International Space Station only once every 90 minutes, when the facility passes over ground stations in Russia. NASA has said, however, that the ISS does not appear to be in danger.
Mashble reports that earlier today, a Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted an update:
Good Morning, Earth! Today we transition the Space Station's main computers to a new software load. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) February 19, 2013
According to NASA, while the space station flew over Russian ground stations at about 11:00 a.m. EST, mission control instructed the crew through the Russian ground stations to "begin the process of restoring communications" using a backup computer.
The station is carrying one American astronaut, and two Russian Cosmonauts.
NASA officials say the loss in communication is not unprecedented but it is a cause for concern. NASA's Commander Kevin Ford, who is in charge of the station, assured that the crew on board the ISS is "doing well."