Russia's Nauka module had a bumpy ride to the International Space Station. However, it seemed that it did not get any smoother as it tried to dock on the space station's Russian segment eight days after it was launched.
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, said that the module's engines had to perform several firings to correct its orbit and reach the space station on time. But as reported by Express, the Nauka module unexpectedly fired its thrusters as it docked on the ISS that caused the space station to lose its altitude control.
Nauka module, which translates as "science," is Russia's latest contribution to the floating space laboratory and is officially branded as a Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) that will serve as a science research hub in the space station's Russian hub.
ISS Regains Control From Nauka Docking Mishap
According to the news outlet, the Nauka module docked to the Russian segment of the ISS on July 29 at 2.29 pm BST (9.29 am EDT), eight days since its launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov moved to the Zvezda module of the ISS by 5.45 pm BST (12.45 pm EDT) to open the hatches for the docking of the Nauka module.
Unfortunately, a mishap happened when Nauka's thrusters unexpectedly fired up, causing the ISS to briefly lose its altitude control and tilted by about 45 degrees. Astronauts had to briefly engage another spacecraft docked in the space station to prevent the ISS from being pushed off course. Currently, there are four modules docked in the ISS: SpaceX's Crew-2 Dragon, Progress 78 cargo ship, Russia's Soyuz MS-18, and the latest one is the Nauka module.
Soon after, the space station regained its control, and Nauka overseers in Russia ensured that the module's thrusters would not unexpectedly fire again. According to Space.com, seven astronauts were currently living and working in the floating space laboratory who reported seeing some debris from the mishap that might be from the jet firing.
The crew reported that they had not experienced any turbulence brought by the incident. Most of the crew members were also working at the time, but it was canceled to give a support response to the anomaly.
"The crew is not in any danger, never was in any danger and altitude control has been regained," Space.com quoted NASA spokesperson Rob Navias during a live broadcast after the ISS regained its position.
Nauka Module Mishap Delays Boeing Starliner OFT-2 Launch
In a separate report of Space.com, NASA and Boeing's officials announced that the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 mission for Starliner would be delayed from its original date on July 30 to August 3, which will take place at 1:20 pm EDT.
The delay was caused by the Nauka module mishap on July 29, which briefly tilted the ISS. NASA wrote in a statement that both the American space agency and the multinational corporation decided to delay its planned launch to give the crew of the ISS enough time for checkouts of the newly arrived Nauka module and ensure that the space station is ready for its arrival on Tuesday.
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