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Space Officials Restore International Space Station's Main Computers

Russian space officials have restored two of three critical computers aboard the International Space Station nearly four tense days after they crashed. VOA's Jessica Berman reports.

The computers control the International Space Station's ability to orient itself in orbit, as well as life support for it's three crewmembers.

The computers crashed Wednesday as astronauts were connecting a new solar array that had been attached to the station to boost its power supply.

Thinking the computer failure might have been caused by the new power source, astronauts on Friday disconnected the main power from the truss that supports the new solar arrays to the service module.

But that failed to bring the computers back on line.

Russian technicians continued looking for a secondary power source for the crash.

Officials with the US space agency NASA say the problem now appears to have been a faulty power switch. They say the computers came on when technicians bypassed it with a cable.

Technicians are now working to bring a third computer back on line.

NASA officials say the return of the is very good news.

The development means the space shuttle Atlantis can complete its 13 day mission of repairing the International Space Station, and operations aboard the orbiting laboratory can return to normal.

International Space Station Mission Manager Mike Suffredini says there were never any plans to abandon the space station. "There is nobody in this agency, and as far as I know in the Russian agency, that thinks this vehicle is at risk of being lost. Not even remotely," he said.

Meanwhile, shuttle astronauts conducted a space walk on Friday to repair a torn thermal blanket that protects the shuttle from the heat of re-entry when the vehicle returns to Earth next week.