Russia claims that a software failure caused the Nauka module to launch thrusters after docking with the International Space Station

The Nauka module (left) is docked with the International Space Station, and the Soyuz spacecraft (right) is parked nearby.

The Nauka module (left) is docked with the International Space Station, and the Soyuz spacecraft (right) is parked nearby.
image: Russian Space Agency

Russian astronauts on the International Space Station are continuing to solve the cause The newly arrived Nauka module accidentally launched its thrusters after docking with the orbital outpost.

Now the situation seems to be under control, but, I stretched for 47 minutes yesterday, Things get Strange It’s even a little scary.

At around 12:34 pm Eastern Time, approximately three hours after docking with the International Space Station, the newly arrived Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) or Nauka began launching thrusters. As the International Space Station project manager Joel Montalbano (Joel Montalbano) explained at the NASA press conference held yesterday, due to this unexpected advancement, the space station lost its attitude control, causing it to be The speed drifts about half a second. In general, the unexpected lift caused the space station to move approximately 45 degrees, mainly in pitch.

The reaction of the Russian flight controller was to turn off Nauka’s thrusters. The thrusters on the Zvezda module and a docked Progress cargo ship then brought the space station back to its normal position. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, attitude control was restored at 1:29 pm Eastern Time.

“At present, the space station is in the normal direction, and all international space stations and metersThe multi-purpose laboratory module system is operating normally,” Vladimir Solovyov, the flight director of the Russian section of the International Space Station, explained in a report from the Russian Space Agency. statement“Created a reliable internal power supply and command interface, and a power interface to connect the module to the station.”

NASA said the crew of Expedition 65 on the International Space Station was never in any danger, and there were no reports of damage.Montalbano said he was “not too worried” about the incident, saying that the mission controller had been thoroughly Provide training for such situations. He added that it was no longer possible to happen again, and said that Nauka’s thrusters were “banned” by Russian controllers.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, wrote: “This is one of the most serious events in the 24-year history of the International Space Station.” Give it to me in email. “In principle, loss of attitude control may cause the complex to rupture.”

McDowell pointed out that 2016 event Among them, the Japan Hitomi satellite entered an uncontrollable rotation after encountering an attitude control system problem, causing it to disintegrate. The situation on the International Space Station is “not that extreme,” he said, and the International Space Station “maybe” has not experienced any structural failures, McDowell wrote, “but you don’t want a 400-ton space station, it has a lot of flexible parts. It’s like the collapse of a solar panel.”

McDowell said he is concerned about the situation of some external experiments that only use wire harness connections. The “struggle” between Nauka and other control modules-where multiple sets of thrusters are used-may produce “oscillations” in the flexible parts of the structure, especially “heat sinks and solar panels”, where design tolerances may Exceeded, he wrote.

Solovyov said that “short-term software failure” was the culprit of the accident, in which “a direct command was wrongly executed to turn on the module engine for evacuation, which led to some changes in the direction of the entire complex.”

Due to this unintentional ignition of the thruster, NASA postponed today’s Plans to launch an unmanned Boeing CST-100 Starliner commercial manned spacecraft.The second test of this car is now Reserve 1:20 PM Eastern Time on August 3rd. According to NASA, the postponement “allows time for the International Space Station team to continue to check the newly arrived Roscosmos Nauka module and ensure that the station is ready for the arrival of Starliner” statementTo be sure, it does not make much sense to send a test spacecraft to the International Space Station while the crew continues to solve serious problems.

Mission experts are now trying to determine how much propellant the International Space Station has lost because the crew must regain attitude control. Montalbano said the procedure did not deplete the space station’s fuel reserves, but “obviously we want more propellant, but I’m not worried.”

According to the Russian Federal Space Agency, Russian astronauts are now implementing a set of procedures to ensure the “unconditional safety” of the International Space Station and its crew, especially tasks related to the Nauka modular propulsion system. statement. After doing this, The crew will open the door, first the Zvezda service module, then the new Russian module. Solovyov said that the astronauts will “open the cabin door, enter the cabin, turn on the necessary means to purify the atmosphere, and start normal daily work.” They must also balance the pressure in the Nauka module, which takes some time, Because the total volume of the module contains 2,472 cubic feet (70 cubic meters).

Nauka module roll out It took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 21, but its initial thruster burned Failure, Forcing the flight controller to use a backup engine.Concerns about unstable antennas and docking ports complex More importantly, but the module is docked”Nominally“On July 29 at 9:29 AM Eastern Time and the International Space Station.

The new module will provide additional space for running experiments, storing goods and accommodating new water and oxygen regeneration equipment. Nauka provided a second toilet for the Russian crew and an additional room for the third Russian crew.The module also provides a new airlock and new European robotic arm (ERA), this will be the first robotic arm to serve the Russian market segment.

more: A robotic arm similar to the Inspector Gadget is heading to the International Space Station.

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