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Space station computer outage may require spacewalk

A computer outage at the International Space Station may require a spacewalk by astronauts.

NASA said Friday night that a backup computer on the outside of the orbiting lab is not responding to commands. The main computer, called an MDM or multiplexer-demultiplexer, is working fine and the six-man crew is in no danger. But the computers control some robotic functions that would be needed for next week's planned visit by a private SpaceX supply ship. A backup computer would need to be operating for redundancy of those robotic systems.

Mission Control is deciding whether the computer can be repaired or must be replaced. NASA is still aiming for a Monday launch from Cape Canaveral of the SpaceX cargo ship. But that could change, depending on the faulty computer.