Russia Says Software Glitch, Possible Lapse in Human Attention Caused Misfire That Jolted International Space Station

Science

Russian space officials said a software glitch and possible lapse in human attention were to blame for the mishap that caused the entire space station to pitch out of its normal flight position 250 miles above the Earth with seven crew members aboard.

Russian cosmonauts have given a video tour of the interior of a research module which briefly threw the International Space Station out of control on Thursday a few hours after docking.

Footage published late on Saturday showed cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov opening the hatches and giving a short tour inside the Nauka module, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

According to NASA’s account of Thursday’s incident, the mission flight director immediately declared a spaceflight emergency as engineers on the ground struggled to restore stability to the sprawling research satellite.

NASA and Roscosmos each said that the seven crew members — two Russian cosmonauts, three US astronauts and two others from Japan and France — were never in any immediate danger.

Roscosmos, which this week spoke of plans to launch another Russian module to the station in November, has suffered a series of mishaps and corruption scandals, including during the construction of the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the country’s far-east where contractors were accused of embezzling state funds.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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