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Construction crew accidentally severs link between Russia and satellites, ISS crew

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ISS at night
ISS at night

If you need another example of just how fragile technological infrastructure can be, a recent case in Moscow serves as a good reminder. As reported by The Atlantic, a construction crew managed to sever an all-important cable that links Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, with all of the country's satellites. The incident also temporarily cut off Moscow's communications with its workers aboard the International Space Station. Officials maintain that satellites were still able to maintain a downlink connection with their stations; they were unable to accept new orders, however. The communication breakdown was mitigated thank in part to assistance from NASA, which acted as a relay between Russia and its ISS crew during the downtime. Repairs were completed in less than 48 hours but the not uncommon mixup still managed to shine a light on how delicate our ties to crucial infrastructure can be. And even when human error isn't a factor, Hurricane Sandy called attention to the fact that our technology is always at the mercy of mother nature.