Nauka module on the ISS: mass of 22 tons
Photo: Uncredited / dpa
After an eight-day journey, a Russian research module arrived at the International Space Station ISS - but after docking there was a small incident.
The engines of the module fired "accidentally and unexpectedly" and the ISS moved 45 degrees out of its regular trajectory, the US space agency Nasa announced on Thursday via Twitter.
After that, another rocket launch planned for Friday was canceled.
The ISS was able to be brought back into its regular flight path through an emergency operation, it said.
The crew had never been in danger and the ISS and all systems on board were functioning normally.
However, NASA lost control of the station's position in space for almost an hour.
As a result, contact with the crew was also broken for eleven minutes.
Before that, the research module “Nauka” (science) was docked as planned at the outpost of mankind at a height of around 400 kilometers, as a live broadcast by the Russian space agency Roskosmos had shown.
Several field missions by Russian cosmonauts are now planned for completion.
»Starliner« launch to the ISS postponed
After the incident, NASA announced that it was postponing the launch of a "Starliner" spaceship from the Boeing company to the ISS, which was planned for Friday, for an indefinite period.
The aim of the unmanned test flight is to create the basis for the future astronauts to be transported to the space station with the “Starliner”.
Actually, that should have happened a long time ago, but during the first test in December 2019, the spaceship did not make it into orbit and to the ISS, among other things because of a problem with the automatic ignition of the drives.
The postponement "gives the International Space Station team time to continue testing the newly arrived" Nauka "module from Roscosmos and to ensure that the station is ready for the" Starliner "arrival," it said.
"Nauka" is to replace the disused module "Pirs" (landing stage) on the Russian part of the station, which was recently undocked and sunk in the Pacific.
As a multi-purpose module, »Nauka« is primarily intended for research.
The module, which was launched from Kazakhstan about a week ago on board a launcher, is also intended to serve as crew quarters with its own life support system.
It measures 13 by 4.11 meters and has a mass of more than 20 tons.
Actually, »Nauka« was supposed to be brought into space in 2007.
Problems had always led to delays.
The last module was sent to the Outpost of Humanity by Russia eleven years ago.
jme / dpa