However, the computers were not built to last and years of operations have taken a toll on their memory modules.
The standard practice of swapping them out and sending them back for repair on Earth was deemed “unsustainable”.
So in 2015, the decision was made to print new circuit boards that would help keep the ISS in orbit.
ESA said: “Teams in Russia and Europe considered upgrading the computer boards directly by an astronaut on the Space Station in weightlessness – the equivalent of open-heart surgery on Earth.”
“This was no easy task to demonstrate, considering the computers were not designed for maintenance on orbit and the units were closed with small screws, sometimes even glued in place.