The space station lost control of its orientation for 47 minutes, when Russia’s Nauka science lab accidentally fired its thrusters a few hours after docking, pushing the orbiting complex from its normal configuration. The station’s position is key for getting power from solar panels and for communications with space support teams back on Earth. The space station’s communications with ground controllers also blipped out twice for a few minutes.
Vladimir Solovyov, flight director of the space station’s Russian segment, blamed the incident on a “short-term software failure.” In a statement the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Solovyov said because of the failure, a direct command to turn on the lab’s engines was mistakenly implemented.
He added the incident was “quickly countered by the propulsion system” of another Russian component at the station and “at the moment, the station is in its normal orientation” and all its systems “are operating normally.”
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