Russian module arrives at space station and all of a sudden its rockets begin to fire?
Sorry, this was staged to see how we’d react.
“Mission control teams corrected the action and all systems are operating normally,” US space agency Nasa said.
This was done by activating thrusters on other modules of the ISS. An investigation is now under way.
US and Russian officials stressed that the seven crew members aboard the space station were never in any danger.
The malfunction happened three hours after the Nauka module docked with the ISS on Thursday, following an eight-day flight from Earth.
Nasa officials said Nauka’s jets started firing uncommanded at 12:34 EDT (16:45 GMT) “moving the station 45 degrees out of attitude”.
The Russian Zvezda segment and a Progress freighter then responded to push the station back into its correct pointing configuration. The incident was over by 13:29 EDT.
“What we saw today was just an awesome job by the mission control flight teams,” said Joel Montalbano, Nasa’s ISS programme manager.
“Those guys were rock stars again and got us back in attitude control. That also shows you what a robust vehicle we have, and our ability to take these contingencies, recover from them and move on,” he told reporters.
Communications with the ISS crew were lost for two periods, of four minutes and seven minutes, during the incident. However, the US agency said that the astronauts were safe. They “really didn’t feel any movement”, it added.
The mishap forced Nasa and Boeing to push back Friday’s uncrewed test flight of Boeing’s Starliner capsule, a vehicle intended to carry astronauts in the future.
“We wanted to give the ISS programme time to assess what had happened today, to determine the cause and make sure that they were really ready to support the Starliner launch,” explained Steve Stich, the manager of Nasa’s commercial crew programme.