Russia's Nauka laboratory module is in trouble. It accidentally fired its rockets after docking with the International Space Station. This temporarily threw the station out of place.
A few hours later, Naukas' propulsive devices suddenly fired. Personnel aboard the ISS were forced to fire thrusters at the Russian segment of station to stop the effect.
Nasa stated on Twitter that the module began firing unexpectedly and inadvertently, causing the station to shift 45 degrees from its original position. The crew is safe and sound after the recovery operations.
Russia's Roscosmos space agency said the problem was caused by Naukas engines that had to use residual fuel. Tass news agency reported.
After more than a decade-long delay, the mission is now complete. Russia wants to improve its space industry which has suffered since the collapse Soviet Union. It also struggles to keep up to the competition from the United States.
Last week, the Nauka module was launched from Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome. It was carried by a Russian Proton rocket. This marks Russia's first docking with an ISS module for 11 years.
Roscosmos presented the new addition to the segment of the ISS docking at 1329 GMT. You are in contact! ! Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin tweeted.
To fully integrate the module and the space station, it will take several months.
Greg Whitney, Lead MLM Flight Director, and I split today's shift. Never in my life have I: 1)been prouder than the team that lives on @Space_Station and 2)had to declare an emergency for spacecraft until now, 3)felt so happy to see all of the solar arrays + radiators still attached. https://t.co/Bmox4WVZsn Zebulon Scoville (@Explorer_Flight) July 29, 2021
Because the module was traveling with the European Robotic Arm (the first robot arm capable of working on Russia's ISS segment), the European Space Agency closely monitored the launch.
Nauka, which means science in Russian, will be used primarily for research and storage of laboratory equipment. It will provide additional storage space, new oxygen and water regeneration systems, and better living conditions for cosmonauts in the Russian ISS sector.
The multipurpose Nauka laboratory module was designed as a backup for Zarya's Russian control module Zarya.
Later, it was repurposed for science purposes and joined a list of Russian space projects in stagnation that were unable to be funded or have bureaucratic problems.
Although originally scheduled for 2007, the launch of the Nauka, a 20-tonne module on the ISS, has been delayed repeatedly due to various issues.
The European Space Agency stated that while last week's launch was successful, Nauka encountered several hiccups on orbit during its eight-day journey towards the ISS.
According to the RIA Novosti news agency, Rogozin said that journalists had to worry the first three days after Nauka docked.
Nauka replaces long-serving Pirs Docking Module, which was originally added to the ISS in 2001 but ended up remaining in service for over 20 years.
Pirs made room for Nauka by separating from the ISS earlier in the week, with its burned-up remains falling into Pacific Ocean.
The ISS was launched in 1998. It involved Russia, Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency.
Russia announced in April that it was considering pulling out of the ISS program due to the aging infrastructure. It plans to launch the core module for a new orbital station by 2025.
Russia has recently announced a number of projects, including a mission on Venus and a station at the moon. However, the Kremlin is diverting funding to military ventures, which makes analysts doubt the viability of these ambitious plans.
With Agence France Presse and Reuters