Astronauts aboard the ISS received a special software upgrade earlier this week: personal access to the Internet and the World Wide Web via the "ultimate wireless connection".
This personal Web access, called the Crew Support LAN, takes advantage of existing communication links to and from the station and gives astronauts the ability to browse and use the Web. The system basically provides astronauts with direct private communications.
During periods when the station is actively communicating with the ground using high-speed Ku-band communications, the crew will have remote access to the Internet via a ground computer. The crew will view the desktop of the ground computer using an onboard laptop and interact remotely with their keyboard touchpad.
The system will help the astronauts to communicate with their families more often than before during long flights, according to a NASA statement.
Washington Post has contributed to the report.