International Space Station knocked out of position as new Russian science lab malfunctions

The International Space Station has been knocked out of position after a Russian science lab malfunctioned.

The newly arrived lab accidentally fired its thrusters, resulting in the ISS losing control of its orientation for 47 minutes, NASA said.

Russian cosmonauts had been checking for leaks between the 22-tonne lab – named Nauka – and the service module, when automatic sensors on the ground detected the problem.

Communication between the station and ground controllers was also cut twice for a few minutes.

NASA said that the crew was “never and is not in any danger”, adding that ground teams had regained control and the “motion of the space station is stable”.

Joel Montalbano, manager of NASA’s space station programme, said that, at the height of the incident, the ISS was pitching out of alignment at the rate of about half a degree per second.

The crew “really didn’t feel any movement”, he added.

 

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