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Computer Glitch Causes False Alarm Aboard International Space Station


A computer glitch caused NASA officials to run through emergency procedures Tuesday to make sure no fire had occured aboard the International Space Station. VOA's Jessica Berman reports.

The incident occured while two newly-installed solar arrays were being unfurled by the space station.

An alarm sounded in the Russian-built Zarya control module, prompting mission controllers to run through emergency procedures to try to detect the presence of fire.

Expedition 15 flight engineer Oleg Kotov then conducted a vision inspection.

"There is no smoke, no smell, no signs of smoke," said Oleg Kotov.

NASA officials say the problem occured when a computer aboard the space station crashed for some unknown reason, and did not automatically come back on line as expected.

Mission respresentative Michael Montalbono says the glitch triggered the smoke alarm.

"When that did occur, we did our standard procedures when our crew pulls out their emergency book," said Michael Montalbono. "They take readings for smoke products that all came back negative. We've talked to the crew. There's no issue. We're working with the Russian flight control team. But as far as the configuration, we're not working any issues."

Meanwhile NASA officials say no decision has been made when to repair a heat resistant thermal blanket that came loose during launch.

US space officials have extended the mission by two days so the repair can be made.