The Russian mission control center, based in Korolev, is ready to assume control of the United States' segment of the International Space Station during the passage of the Lili hurricane above Houston. This was said to RIA Novosti on Wednesday by Viktor Blagov, second in command of control of the Russian ISS segment.
He stressed that the Russian centre would assume control of the American ISS segment if the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration decides so.
The Cape Canaveral space centre in Florida has already announced that the launch of the American Atlantis shuttle ship would be delayed because of the hurricane, said Blagov. It is expected to sweep above the American space centre on Thursday or Friday.
Such a "cross variant" of controlling ISS segments is provided for in case of an emergency.
"In our centre we have a group of American experts in mission control and so has Houston. Our group there is ready to assume control of the Russian segment, if Russia has it complicated for some reason", said Blagov.
The Lili hurricane will stay above Houston for not more than a day or two, he believes. "For that time we are ready to supply the American group in the Russian centre with means of communication with the ISS station and computers for control of its American segment," said Blagov.
If this happens, work for cosmonauts aboard the ISS will be simpler. They will have to suspend their research and engage in only supervision and maintenance of systems of life support in the American ISS segment.
In this case, the supervision of the cosmonauts' work and flight safety systems will be telemetered from the Russian mission control centre, said Blagov.
The American centre assured RIA Novosti that the supervision of the ISS flight can be fully put into the hands of the Russian centre in Korolev in case the hurricane suspends operations at the Houston centre.