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Icarus – the ambitious project to track hundreds of thousands of animals from space – has hit an unexpected delay after a specialised computer installed on board the International Space Station (ISS) refused to work as intended.
In order to fix the system, which was only switched on last week, astronauts will have to apply the oldest workaround in the book, practised by IT staff since time immemorial: they will have to turn it off and on again.
Process - Space - Server - Room - Go
The actual process is slightly more complicated in space than it is in a corporate server room: before they can have a go at it, detailed procedures will have to be drawn up, and busy schedules will have to be cleared.
Meanwhile, teams on the ground will have to engage in a bit of tech support, with negotiations taking place between Germany's SpaceTech, which made the Icarus computer, and RRSC Energia, which leads the development of the Russian corner of the space station – in this context, essentially a space-borne data centre.
System - Fans - Professor - Martin - Wikelski
"The system was switched on, and then it turned out that the fans were running intermittently. That means that they have to be switched off and turned on one by one," professor Martin Wikelski, director of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and leader of the project, told El Reg.
"Apparently it's something that the Russians have experienced before," he added.
Engineers - Space - Projects - Unit - Thing
"The engineers told us that space projects always take longer than expected because each manufactured unit is a unique thing, so you always have some initial problems with systems, especially the ones we are dealing with, because this is a new CDMA communications system, basically IoT via space, and I think everybody is keen to see how it works."
The Icarus (International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space) project has been in the works since 2002....
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