Computer control regained at space station: NASA

Two Russian cosmonauts have been able to get computers that control navigation and key life-support systems up and running aboard the international space station, NASA said Friday.

Two Russian cosmonauts have been able to get computers that control navigation and key life-support systemsup and running aboard the International Space Station, NASA said Friday.

The computers crashed four days ago, limiting the outpost's ability to orient itself and produce oxygen.

"They're up and operational and this is good news for all,"said Lynette Madison, a NASA spokeswoman in Houston.

Madison said cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov bypassed a power switch with a cable to get two out of three computer connections running.

The space station needs only one connection running in order to operate computers that control orientation and oxygen production. The cosmonauts planned to watch the computers for the next several hours to make sure they were functioning properly.

Earlier Friday, NASA program manager Mike Suffredini described the problems on the mission as typical of "a day in the life of the space station."

Suffredini said life support systems for the crewwere not in jeopardy. There is "plenty of oxygen on board," he said, and they can maintain temperature and humidity levels."The crew is absolutely not at risk."

In another development, a spacewalking astronaut equipped with a stapler and pins took a trip outside the space station on Friday to repair a thermal blanket on the space shuttle Atlantis.

In this image from NASA TV, mission specialist Steve Swanson can be seen through the helmet camera of colleague Patrick Forrester during a spacewalk Wednesday. ((NASA TV/Associated Press))

Danny Olivas, a mission specialist, reattached a section of the covering that protects the craft from the heat of re-entering Earth's atmosphere before landing.

While engineers don't think the damage was enough to put the shuttle in danger, repairs were being done to minimize the damage on re-entry and reduce the time required to get the shuttle ready for its next mission.

The 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster that killed seven astronauts was caused by shuttle damage that allowed a catastrophic fire on re-entry.

While Olivasused a medical stapler to fix the blanket, fellow spacewalker James Reilly installed a hydrogen vent for a new oxygen-generating system. He also disconnected a power cable as part of troubleshooting problems with computers on the space station.

The spacewalking astronauts were also expected to help fold a solar wing their colleagues have been trying to get into a storage box for two days.

Atlantis began its mission last Friday. It went to the space station to install a set of solar arrays and a new truss segment that will allow the arrays to rotate to catch more of the sun's energy.

with files from the Associated Press