After the International Space Station (ISS) was hit by the newly arrived Russian research module, the flight controller regained control of it.
NASA officials said that Thursday’s accident caused the jet thruster of the multi-purpose Nauka module to inadvertently ignite about three hours after locking onto the orbital outpost, causing it to temporarily lose control.
According to NASA, it happened while mission controllers in Moscow were performing some post-docking “reconfiguration” procedures.
The jet of this module restarted inexplicably, causing the entire International Space Station to deviate from its normal flight position about 400 kilometers (250 miles) above the earth. NASA officials said that in response, the flight director of the mission declared a “spacecraft emergency.”
But according to NASA, the seven crew members on board — two Russian astronauts, three NASA astronauts, one Japanese astronaut and one European Space Agency astronaut from France — have never been in In any immediate danger.
‘Tug of war’
NASA space station project manager Joel Montalbano (Joel Montalbano) told reporters that the automatic ground sensor first detected an accidental drift in the direction of the space station, and 15 minutes later, the “loss of attitude control” lasted more than 45 minutes.
NASA officials said the ground flight team managed to restore the direction of the International Space Station by activating the thrusters on another module of the orbital platform.
In a broadcast report on the incident, the Russian RIA News Agency quoted NASA experts at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, as saying that the struggle to regain control of the space station was described as a “tug-of-war” between the two modules.
The location of the station is the key to obtaining power from solar panels and communications.
Montalbano said that at the height of the incident, the International Space Station deviated from orbit at a rate of about half a degree per second.
The Nauka engine was eventually shut down, the space station stabilized, and its direction returned to where it started.
Montalbano said that during the interruption, communication with the crew was interrupted twice for a few minutes, but the people on board “really did not feel any movement.”
NASA’s commercial crew manager Steve Stitch said that if the situation had become so dangerous that it needed to evacuate people, the astronauts could have escaped in the SpaceX manned cabin, which is still parked at the outpost, and used it as a ” Lifeboat” procedure.
Montalbano said that after the incident, the space station showed no signs of immediate damage. The flight correction exercise consumed more propellant reserves than expected, “but I won’t worry about it,” he said.
NASA officials said that the cause of the failure of the thruster on the Nauka module delivered by the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos has not been determined.
However, according to TASS news agency, Roscosmos attributed the problem after the docking on Thursday to the fact that Nauka’s engine had to work with residual fuel in the spacecraft.
After launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last week, a series of failures occurred in the 22-ton Nauka module named after the Russian word “science”, which raised concerns about whether the docking procedure would proceed smoothly.
Due to technical problems, its launch has been postponed many times before. It was originally planned to rise in 2007.
The Nauka module is intended to be used as a research laboratory, storage unit and airlock, and will upgrade Russia’s capabilities on the International Space Station.
This is the first new compartment in the Russian part of the space station since 2010. On Monday, the Pirs spacewalk compartment, one of Russia’s older units, detached from the space station to make room for the new laboratory.
Nauka will require many operations, including as many as 11 spacewalks starting in early September, to prepare for operation.
This failure prompted NASA to at least plan to launch Boeing’s new CST-100 Starliner capsule before August 3 for a highly anticipated unmanned test flight to the space station.
The Starliner was originally scheduled to launch on an Atlas V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday.