By Kristin Fisher | CNN
An uncommon and probably harmful state of affairs unfolded Thursday on the Worldwide Area Station, because the newly-docked Russian Nauka module inadvertently fired its thrusters inflicting a “tug of conflict” with the area station and briefly pushing it out of place, in accordance with NASA flight controllers.
Nauka — a long-delayed laboratory module that Russian area company Roscosmos’ launched to the Worldwide Area Station final week — inadvertently fired its thrusters after docking with the Worldwide Area Station Thursday morning.
NASA officers declared it a “spacecraft emergency” because the area station skilled a lack of perspective (the angle at which the ISS is meant to stay oriented) management for almost one hour, and floor controllers misplaced communications with the seven astronauts at present aboard the ISS for 11 minutes throughout the ordeal. A joint investigation between NASA and the Russian area company Roscosmos is now ongoing.
Joel Montalbano, the top of NASA’s Worldwide Area Station Program, insists the astronauts have been by no means at risk and that they haven’t seen any harm to the ISS. NASA’s Mission Management in Houston, Texas, nonetheless, at one level requested them to look outdoors the home windows of the area station to see if they might spot any particles or harm to the station.
The incident additionally delayed the launch of the Boeing Starliner uncrewed check flight to the station, which had been set to launch on Friday.
NASA says the transfer permits the “Worldwide Area Station staff time to proceed working checkouts of the newly arrived Roscosmos’ Nauka module and to make sure the station shall be prepared for Starliner’s arrival.”
“Spaceflight is tough, and after we deliver on new capabilities there may be glitches, which is why we put together and prepare for these contingencies,” stated Kathy Lueders, affiliate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.
NASA officers have been fast to downplay the severity of the incident, describing it as a “fairly thrilling hour” and a “dynamic occasion.”
“Till you exhaust all of your contingency plans, that’s if you begin to fear and right now we simply weren’t there,” stated Montalbano.
But Montalbano additionally acknowledged that unintended firings of thrusters have solely taken place “possibly three or 4 instances” throughout the 20 years that the area station has been in orbit.