Some of the computers vital to the maintenance of the International Space Station are turning 20, roughly the age of the station itself. Over the years, the ISS has grown and the space agencies involved hope to maintain their lives until at least 2030.
Over the years, computer maintenance, including component replacement, has never been easy. The system includes three units working in parallel with two active computers and one in standby to assume one that eventually malfunctions. And there's a fourth backup computer, just in case. But as you explain in your blogAfter years of operations, engineers have noted that most field and orbiting computer failures occurred in memory modules on one of the printed circuit boards. Each time a computer was removed, returned to Earth for repair and then returned, it took a long time and impacted the logistics of operations.
The engineers came to the conclusion that it was time to introduce a new printed circuit board with the same shape and functionality as the old ones, but built with modern components. In addition, instead of computers being shipped down, component repairs and replacements are now done by the astronauts themselves.
It is explained that they themselves had to receive training and training, similar to walking in space, so that they could carry out the operations successfully and without risks. Basically, it is like a “heart transplant”, says the international agency. Prior to actual operations, the astronauts kept a broken computer to test the replacement.
Despite the successful “operation” carried out in January 2019, it was kept waiting for a new malfunction to try it out. And that's what happened in November: one of the old computers broke down and was replaced by the repaired unit in space. And the success of the entire operation is confirmed. And what took six months to repair, between sending and receiving from the Space Station to the ground base, was shortened in a few days. And this operation gave experience but also motivation to make more orbit repairs. See the gallery for computer repair photos.