Roscosmos talks about unintended MLM thruster firing

Shane McGlaun - Aug 1, 2021, 8:33am CDT
Roscosmos talks about unintended MLM thruster firing

Last week was a big week for the ISS after Russia’s new laboratory module called Nauka docked with the space station after years of delays. The space station took up residency on the port where the Pirs docking station and a Russian cargo spacecraft were stationed previously. While the launch and docking with the ISS went smoothly with no issues, a scary problem popped up after docking.

As mentioned yesterday, thrusters on the Nakua module fired unintentionally, pushing the ISS out of its normal orientation. However, mission controllers were able to quickly and easily regain control and reorient the space station properly. Roscosmos officials have now given background on what happened. Vladimir Solovyov, Flight Director of the Russian segment of the ISS, said that docking connections worked reliably and closed on both docking mechanisms of the station and the module without issue.

However, a short-term software failure resulted in a direct command mistakenly implemented turning on the modules engines for withdrawal, which led to the ISS complex as a whole getting out of orientation. The situation was quickly countered by the propulsion system of the Zvezda module. Solovyov notes that the space station is currently in normal orientation, and all multipurpose laboratory module systems are operating normally.

The flight director also noted that the power supply interface and command interface connected between the module and the station. Currently, the crew is balancing the pressure of the Nauka module, which is a long procedure. The total volume in the new module is about 70 cubic meters. The crew opened the hatches to the new module, allowing them to enter and turn on the air purification systems to begin normal work on July 30.

There’s no mention by Roscosmos that the issue with the thrusters accidentally firing requires ongoing investigation or repair this time. It’s also unclear when the first experiments might begin being conducted in the new module.

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