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Friday, July 30, 2021

THE HAPPENING WORLD: Orbital Tug of War—Nauka Module vs. International Space Station

Yesterday, 2021-07-29, the Russian Nauka laboratory module docked with the Zarya core module of the International Space Station. Several hours later, as the process of opening the hatch was under way, attitude control thrusters on Nauka, which were supposed to have been disabled after the docking was complete, started to fire, rotating the entire space station out of its correct orientation. The station's attitude control system detected the deviation and fired thrusters on Zarya to attempt to correct and, when they proved inadequate, also fired thrusters on a docked Progress cargo ship. At the peak, the station was rotating around half a degree a second.

Nobody knows what caused Nauka's thrusters to fire. What caused them to stop was not a command, but rather running out of propellant, after which the station's thrusters, unopposed, restored its normal orientation. Here is a NASA report on the events.

“This is how we fix problems in Russian space station!”

Posted at July 30, 2021 13:01