Instead of staying locked on, the nose drifted off in large arcs, almost as if the spacecraft was searching for a signal to home in on.The spacecraft was unable to lock onto guidance signals. The Soyuz has now backed away to a safe distance. The primary goal of the flight was to verify the suitability of the upgraded Soyuz-2.1a booster to launch astronauts and cosmonauts to the station and to check out a variety of Soyuz upgrades. Engineers believe the culprit may have been a faulty amplifier in the KURS rendezvous equipment inside the space station.
The Earth from the ISS
The amplifier is part of a system that sends signals to an approaching Soyuz that are used by the ship’s computer to help calculate the proper approach trajectory. A new approach and docking operation was postponed until Sunday night. Some equipments tests will be performed first. NASA officials said the crew of the station was not in danger.