Things went exactly as they were supposed to, so it came as a shock to the astronauts and astronauts aboard the station when things started to get exciting. Reuters NASA told reporters Thursday that about three hours after Noka docked on the station, scientists in Moscow were completing some alignment checks, and thrusters designed to shut down the unit were accidentally fired on the station.
Obviously, there isn’t a lot of resistance in the vacuum of space, so although the Nauka engines aren’t particularly heavy duty for the rocket, they were able to push the entire ISS out of position by 45 degrees. NASA explained to reporters that at its worst point, the ISS was spinning in its orbit by about half a degree per second, which doesn’t seem like much until you’re slowly being propelled through space by an out-of-control rocket. This is insured on your ship.
In the end, the situation was resolved by using the thrusters of one of the other ISS modules to pressurize the Nauka and then correcting the orbit once the glitch was stopped. Everything was later corrected and full communications were restored – although frighteningly, NASA lost contact with the crew for several minutes twice during the accident.
Roscosmos, who made the Nauka unit and was controlling the systems that caused it to misfire, He blamed the accident on the failure of the program. NASA was keen to stress that the ISS crew was never in immediate danger.
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