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Serious malfunction: Russian research module rotates ISS after docking maneuver

There was a serious malfunction when the Russian research module Nauka was docked with the International Space Station ISS: while Russian cosmonauts were busy with routine work after the docking process, the module unexpectedly and independently ignited the engines and thereby turned the space station. The US space agency NASA announced that the flight position of the ISS had been changed by a full 45 degrees. Maneuvers of the ISS engines, some of which were automatically triggered, quickly counteracted this, and they pressed against each other for a while. In the end, however, the location of the station was corrected again. NASA still assures the crew that there was no danger at any time. More information is to follow.

The research module Nauka was originally supposed to fly to the ISS as early as 2007; it is the sister module of the first ISS segment – Zarya. Construction of the module had even begun in 1995. The start had been delayed again and again and there had been criticism for a long time that Nauka’s technology was long out of date. It was finally launched on July 21, but everything did not go smoothly after that either: a first planned maneuver had to be postponed and docking with the ISS continued to be delayed. A problem with the engines was already responsible. The Russian Pirs module made way for Nauka, it was undocked and burned up in the atmosphere as planned.

What exactly went wrong during the docking maneuver is still unclear. It appears that after docking, Nauka’s systems assumed that the maneuver was not completed and therefore activated the engines again. Only those responsible in the Russian control center can completely deactivate it, the NASA broadcast said that work is currently being carried out on it. Meanwhile in Houston there was a suspicion that something flew away from the station during the unexpected maneuver. The crew on board was asked to look out of the windows and possibly take pictures, reports NASA Spaceflight. While experts express doubts that it can already be ruled out that there was a danger for the crew, there are initial indications that the flight from Boeing’s Starliner to the ISS, which is planned for Friday, will be postponed after the events.


(mho)

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