As per NASA, International Space Station (ISS) was thrown briefly out of control when jet thrusters of a newly arrived Russian research module inadvertently fired a few hours after it was docked to the orbiting outpost.
There were seven crew members aboard. Two were Russian cosmonauts, three NASA astronauts, one Japanese astronaut and an ESA astronaut from France. But they were never in any immediate danger, says NASA.
This malfunction prompted NASA to postpone its planned launch of Boeing’s new CST-100 Starliner capsule.
It was set to blast off atop an Atlas V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This mishap began about three hours after the multipurpose Nauka module had latched onto the space station.
That’s when the module’s jets inexplicably restarted. This caused the ISS to pitch out of its normal flight position some 250 miles above the earth.
This loss of attitudinal control lasted for a little more than 45 minutes. Sooner the flight teams on the ground managed to restore the ISS’s orientation by activating thrusters on another module of the orbiting platform.
The Nauka engines were ultimately switched off, ISS stabilized and its orientation was restored to where it had begun, says NASA.