An unexpected incident occurred at the International Space Station. Hours after the Russian research module called Nauka docked on the underside of the ISS the module inadvertently fired its propulsion thrusters while docked, pulling down the rear of the ISS and causing it to roll backwards. Russia’s mission controllers fired thrusters on another Russian module and a Russian cargo ship attached to the space station to stop rotation and then push the station back to its normal position. NASA officials declared a “spacecraft emergency.” Russian space agency Roscosmos said a software glitch resulted in the firing of the module’s engines. But according to Zebulon Scoville, who was in charge at NASA’s mission control center in Houston the ISS performed 1.5 backflips. “@space_station was 45° out of attitude when Nauka’s thrusters were still firing & loss of control was discussed with the crew. Further analysis showed total attitude change before regaining normal attitude control was ~540°. Station is in good shape & operating normally,” NASA said.
Sergei Krikalev, the director of crewed space programs at the Russian space corporation Roscosmos declared the incident did not inflict any observable damage to the space station. The station needs to be properly aligned to get the maximum power from solar panels and to maintain communications with space support teams back on Earth. Nauka is the first new compartment for the Russian segment of the International Space Station since 2010, offering more space for scientific experiments and room for the crew. The space station is currently operated by NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur; Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet.