Russia launches spacecraft to International Space Station (June) 0:51
(CNN Business) -
(CNN Business) -
An unusual and potentially dangerous situation occurred on Thursday on the International Space Station, when the newly docked Russian Nauka module inadvertently fired up its thrusters, causing a "tug of war" with the space station and briefly nudging it. out of position, according to NASA flight controllers.
Nauka, a laboratory module that the Russian space agency Roscosmos launched to the International Space Station last week, inadvertently ignited its thrusters after docking with the International Space Station on Thursday morning.
NASA officials declared it a "spacecraft emergency" as the space station experienced a loss of
(the angle at which the ISS is supposed to stay oriented) for nearly an hour, and controllers in ground lost communication with the seven astronauts currently aboard the ISS for 11 minutes during the failure.
A joint investigation between NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos is currently underway.
Joel Montalbano, director of NASA's International Space Station Program, insists that the astronauts were never in danger and that they have not noticed any damage on the ISS.
However, NASA Mission Control in Houston, Texas, at one point asked them to look out the windows of the space station to see if they could detect debris or damage to the station.
The incident also delayed the launch of Boeing Starliner's unmanned test flight to the station, which had been scheduled to launch on Friday.
NASA says the move allows "the International Space Station team time to continue working on testing the newly arrived Roscosmos Nauka module and to ensure that the station is ready for Starliner's arrival."
"Space flight is difficult, and when we add new capabilities there can be flaws, so we prepare and train for these contingencies," said Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.
NASA officials were quick to downplay the severity of the incident, describing it as a "pretty exciting hour" and a "dynamic event."
"Until you exhaust all your contingency plans, that's when you start to worry and today we just weren't (in that scenario)," Montalbano said.
However, Montalbano also acknowledged that accidental thruster activity has only occurred "maybe three or four times" during the 20 years the space station has been in orbit.
Lori Garver, a former NASA deputy administrator during the Obama administration, described the incident as "a reminder that our lack of knowledge of the capabilities of our Russian partners is an uncontrolled risk. I'm not sure we would have allowed one of Our business partners will dock with (the) station if they just experienced the issues that we learned about with this module. "
International Space Station