Russia Blames Space Station Thruster Mishap On Software Failure



MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian area official on Friday blamed a software program drawback on a newly docked science lab for briefly knocking the Worldwide Area Station out of place.

The area station misplaced management of its orientation for 47 minutes on Thursday, when Russia’s Nauka science lab unintentionally fired its thrusters a couple of hours after docking, pushing the orbiting complicated from its regular configuration. The station’s place is vital for getting energy from photo voltaic panels and for communications with area help groups again on Earth. The area station’s communications with floor controllers additionally blipped out twice for a couple of minutes on Thursday.

Vladimir Solovyov, flight director of the area station’s Russian section, blamed the incident on a “short-term software program failure.” In an announcement launched Friday by the Russian area company Roscosmos, Solovyov mentioned due to the failure, a direct command to activate the lab’s engines was mistakenly carried out.

He added the incident was “shortly countered by the propulsion system” of one other Russian part on the station and “in the intervening time, the station is in its regular orientation” and all its methods “are working usually.”

Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin later Friday advised that “human issue” could have been at play.

“There was such euphoria (after Nauka efficiently docked with the area station), individuals relaxed to some extent,” Rogozin mentioned in a radio interview. “Maybe one of many operators didn’t consider that the management system of the block will proceed to regulate itself in area. And it decided a second three hours after (the docking) and turned on the engines.”

NASA mentioned Thursday that the incident moved the station 45 levels out of perspective, about one-eighth of a whole circle, however the complicated was by no means spinning, there was no quick injury or hazard to the crew.

In this photo taken by Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky the Nauka module is seen prior to docking with the International Space

On this picture taken by Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky the Nauka module is seen previous to docking with the Worldwide Area Station on Thursday, July 29, 2021. (Roscosmos Area Company Press Service picture by way of AP)

The incident brought on NASA to postpone a repeat check flight for Boeing’s crew capsule that had been set for Friday afternoon from Florida. It will likely be Boeing’s second try to succeed in the 250-mile-high (400-kilometer-high) station earlier than placing astronauts on board. Software program issues botched the primary check.

Russia’s long-delayed 22-ton (20-metric-ton) lab known as Nauka arrived earlier Thursday, eight days after it launched from the Russian launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.


The launch of Nauka, which can present extra room for scientific experiments and area for the crew, had been repeatedly delayed due to technical issues. It was initially scheduled to go up in 2007.

In 2013, specialists discovered contamination in its gas system, leading to a protracted and dear alternative. Different Nauka methods additionally underwent modernization or repairs.

Stretching 43 ft (13 meters) lengthy, Nauka grew to become the primary new compartment for the Russian section of the outpost since 2010. On Monday, one of many older Russian items, the Pirs spacewalking compartment, undocked from the station to unencumber room for the brand new lab.

Nauka would require many maneuvers, together with as much as 11 spacewalks starting in early September, to organize it for operation.

In keeping with Solovyov, on Friday the crew was busy equalizing the strain in Nauka and deliberate to open the hatch to the lab later within the day.

The area station is at present operated by NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur; Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov of Russia’s Roscosmos area company; Japan Aerospace Exploration Company astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Area Company astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

In 1998, Russia launched the station’s first compartment, Zarya, which was adopted in 2000 by one other massive piece, Zvezda, and three smaller modules within the following years. The final of them, Rassvet, arrived on the station in 2010.

Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland, and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, contributed to this report.


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