‘Crews aboard the space shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station revived the third and final part of the station’s prime computer network on Saturday and scoured the complex for the cause of the crash.
The computers, which control the station’s position in orbit, were restored after station commander Fyodor Yurchikin and flight engineer Oleg Kotov hot-wired the systems to bypass suspect power sources. [..]
So far, the best explanation for the crash is a subtle change in the space environment now that the station’s size has grown, Suffredini said.
As the station flies 220 miles above Earth, it plows through streams of charged particles which create friction and build up a static voltage charge on the outside.
“As the station gets bigger, this potential continues to grow,” Suffredini said. “I think we’re going to find system sensitivities as we change the space station.”‘