Taking part in it secure, the seven-member crew of the Worldwide Area Station moved into the U.S. section of the outpost Friday, closed hatches and window shutters and stood by whereas Russian flight controllers vented helium pressurization traces within the newly arrived Nauka lab module.
Due to earlier issues with the module’s propulsion system, the crew was taking no probabilities, however high-pressure helium in traces used to pressurize Nauka’s propellants was safely vented overboard. Moments later, station cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov opened a remaining hatch and floated into the roomy new addition.
“Congratulations for a profitable venting,” station commander Akihiko Hoshide radioed flight controllers in Houston and Moscow. “We’ll stand down from the present posture.”
The 44,000-pound Nauka multi-purpose laboratory docked with the station’s Russian Zvezda module Thursday. However a software program error resulted in surprising thruster firings three hours later, whereas the lab was out of contact with Russian flight controllers. The error pushed the house station out of its regular orientation, or “angle.”
The undesirable movement prompted thrusters within the Zvezda module to fireside in an try and counteract the push from Nauka’s jets. Thrusters in a Progress cargo ship additionally joined in to offer extra power.
NASA flight director Zeb Scoville later tweeted the end result was a “drive struggle” between Nauka and Zvezda’s thrusters. Given the orientation of the modules and the relative strengths of the thrusters, “the ISS introduced a knife to a gun struggle.”
“Stories of ISS solely being 45 levels out (of regular orientation) had been untimely,” he mentioned. “We proceeded to do headstands and cartwheels. Olympic judges could be proud.”
He mentioned the station “obtained about as far out of angle as you’ll be able to. Finally gained the drive struggle and returned to straight and stage.”
In any case, with the propellant pressurization traces now evacuated, the cosmonauts had been clear to press forward with the brand new module’s preliminary activation and outfitting.
Reflecting on the work to get better from the lack of angle management, Scoville tweeted “By no means have I ever: 1) been prouder of the group that sits in MCC (mission management) and lives on @Space_Station, 2) needed to declare a spacecraft emergency till now, 3) been so completely satisfied to see all photo voltaic arrays + radiators nonetheless hooked up.”
Going into Nauka’s docking, NASA had been wanting ahead to the launch of an Atlas 5 rocket Friday carrying Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule on a second unpiloted take a look at flight to the house station. With a profitable flight take a look at, Boeing hopes to start launching astronauts by the tip of this yr or early subsequent.
However given the drama of Nauka’s arrival and preliminary uncertainty concerning the well being of the module, NASA managers opted to delay the Starliner launch. The flight has tentatively been reset for launch on Tuesday, at 1:20 p.m. EDT.
Within the meantime, rocket-builder United Launch Alliance hauled the booster and its payload off its Cape Canaveral launch pad and again to a processing facility to maintain it out of stormy afternoon climate.