Russia blames space station lab incident on software failure
MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian space official on Friday blamed a software problem on a newly docked science lab that briefly knocked the International Space Station out of position.
The space station lost control of its orientation for 47 minutes on Thursday, 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 or communications. 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 released by the Russian space agency Roscosmos on Friday, Solovyov said that because of the failure, a direct command to turn on the lab's engines was mistakenly implemented.
He added that 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.”
NASA said Thursday that the incident moved 45 degrees out of attitude, about one-eighth of a complete circle, but the complex was never spinning, there was no immediate damage or danger to the crew.
The incident caused NASA to postpone a repeat test flight for Boeing’s crew capsule that had been set for Friday afternoon from Florida. It will be Boeing’s second attempt to reach the 250-mile-high (400-kilomter-high) station before putting astronauts on board. Software problems botched the first test.
Russia’s long-delayed 22-ton (20-metric-ton) lab called Nauka arrived earlier Thursday, eight days after it launched from the Russian launch facility in Baikonur,...