International Space Station Briefly Thrown Out of Position After Mishap: NASA

·3 min read

The International Space Station (ISS) was briefly thrown out of its position on Thursday, 29 July, after a Russian research module that had been sent to the space station started firing unexpectedly.

The thrusters of the multipurpose laboratory module (MLM) named Nauka, which had docked at the ISS at 9:29 am EDT on Thursday, had begun firing inadvertently at 12:45 ET, almost three hours after it latched on to the space station.

As a consequence of the mishap, the International Space Station, hovering 250 miles above the earth, was thrown off by 45 degrees, before it regained its attitude.

Later in the day, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) took to Twitter to announce that the crew members at the ISS are safe and that the station is back in attitude control.

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""Following the docking of the Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), named Nauka, to the International Space Station at 9:29 am EDT, Russian cosmonauts aboard the space station conducted leak checks between Nauka and the service module. At 12:45 pm, the flight control team noticed the unplanned firing of MLM thrusters that caused the station to move out of orientation. Ground teams have regained attitude control and the motion of the space station is stable."" - NASA

The seven crew members aboard the ISS – three NASA astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts, a Japanese astronaut and a European space agency astronaut from France – were never in any immediate danger, NASA indicated.

The space and aeronautics agency also indicated that 'recovery operations are underway, to make up for the unexpected loss of attitude', which lasted for about 45 minutes.

Following the accident, NASA also announced the postponement of the launch of its Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2 mission – an event that had originally been slated for 30 July. The flight, a collaborative effort between NASA and aerospace company Boeing, is now expected to be launched at 1:20 ET on 3 August.

NASA's Nauka Module

Named after the Russian word for science, Nauka is a 43-foot long, 23-ton module which will serve as a new science facility, docking port, and spacewalk airlock for future operations at the ISS.

Launched on 21 July, Nauka landed at the ISS on 29 July at 9:29 EDT. NASA broadcasted live coverage of the automated docking of the uncrewed multipurpose laboratory module (MLM) to the ISS.

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