A Russian space station official blamed a software problem on a newly put in science lab that briefly knocked the International Space Station out of position on Friday.
The space station lost control of its orientation for 47 minutes on Thursday when Russia’s Nauka science laboratory accidentally fired its rockets a few hours after docking and pushing the orbiting complex from its normal configuration.
The space station’s position is key for getting energy from solar panels and or communications. Communications with ground controllers also rooted out twice for few minutes. The flight director of the space station’s Vladimir Solovyov blamed the incident on a “short-term software failure.”
In a statement released by the Russian space agency Roscosmos on Friday, the flight director Solovyov said that due to the failure, a direct command to turn on the laboratory’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 currently, the space station is in its normal orientation and all its systems are operating normally.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Thursday said that the incident moved 45 degrees out of attitude and approximately one-eighth of a complete circle and there was no immediate damage or danger to the crew.
This accident had caused the independent agency 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 test flight to reach the 400 kilometer high station before putting astronauts on board as software problems messed up the first test.
Russia’s delayed 20-metric-ton lab called Nauka arrived earlier on Thursday, eight days after it launched from the Russian launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
The launch of Nauka will provide a room for more scientific experiments and space for the crew which had been repeatedly delayed because of technical problems.
The launch was initially scheduled in 2007 but was delayed. And in 2013, experts found abomination in its fuel system which resulted in a costly replacement after which other Nauka systems underwent modernization or repairs.