The International Space Station is out of position for 47 minutes
On Thursday, a newly arrived Russian science laboratory briefly crashed its thruster into position when it accidentally launched the International Space Station.
Within 47 minutes, the space station lost control of its direction during a fire a few hours after docking, pushing the orbital complex away from its normal configuration.
The location of the station is the key to obtaining power and communication from solar panels. Communication with the ground controller also experienced two interruptions for several minutes.
NASA said the flight controller used the propellers on other Russian components of the space station to re-control the ship, and it is now stable and safe.
“We did not find any damage,” said Joel Montalbano, the space station’s project manager, at a press conference in the late afternoon. “The crew is not in direct danger at any time.”
‘A very exciting hour’
Montalbano said the crew did not really feel any movement or any tremors. NASA stated that the space station has deviated from its attitude by 45 degrees, which is about one-eighth of a complete circle. NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs said the complex has never rotated.
Casey Ludes, NASA’s manned space flight director, called it “a very exciting time.”
This incident caused NASA to postpone the repeated test flight of Boeing’s crew cabin originally scheduled for Friday afternoon from Florida. This will be Boeing’s second attempt to reach the space station before sending astronauts into space; a software problem messed up the first test.
Russia’s long-delayed 20-ton laboratory named Nauka arrived early Thursday, eight days after it was launched from a Russian launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
Lab start has been delayed repeatedly
The launch of Nauka, which will provide more space for scientific experiments and crew space, has been repeatedly postponed due to technical problems. It was originally planned to rise in 2007.
In 2013, experts discovered that its fuel system was contaminated, resulting in long replacement cycles and high costs. Other Nauka systems have also been modernized or repaired.
Nauka is 13 meters long and became the first new compartment in the Russian part of the outpost since 2010. On Monday, one of Russia’s older units, the Pirs spacewalk compartment, detached from the space station to make room for the new laboratory.
There is still work to be done on Nauka
Nauka will require many operations, including as many as 11 spacewalks starting in early September, to prepare for operation.
The space station is currently operated by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan MacArthur; Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos Space Company, Russia; Akihiko Hoshide, astronaut of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Thomas Pesquet, astronaut of European Space Agency.
In 1998, Russia launched Zarya, the station’s first cabin, followed by another large module Zvezda in 2000, and three smaller modules in the following years. The last of them, Rassvet, arrived at the station in 2010.
Russian space officials downplayed the incident to Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos. He wrote on Twitter: “Everything is going well on the International Space Station. The crew is resting, and I suggest you do the same. “