It's the first time this has ever happened.

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A power outage struck Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston on Tuesday, temporarily cutting off communications with the International Space Station.

NASA says that neither astronauts nor the station itself were ever in any danger, the Associated Press reports.

Fortunately, despite plenty of political turmoil between the US and Russia, Roscosmos communication channels allowed ground teams to get in touch with crew members just 20 minutes into the outage.

Ground Problem

Space station program manager Joel Montalbano told the AP that backup control systems took over within 90 minutes. Interestingly, it's the first time NASA has ever had to fire them up.

"It wasn’t an issue on board," he told reporters. "That was purely a ground problem."

The power outage coincided with ongoing work at the building at the Johnson Space Center, a likely cause for the disruption.

In other words, it ironically wasn't the decades-old space station, which has really started to show its age lately.

The space agency does also have an entirely separate backup control center miles from the Johnson Space Center in case of emergencies. But since the station still had enough power to keep the lights on, NASA stayed at Mission Control.

"We'll better understand what happened and then take lessons learned and move forward," said Montalbano.

More on the ISS: Cosmonauts Litter Orbit With Entire Science Experiment During Spacewalk

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