Oops, they did it again – rogue Soyuz spurt gave ISS an attitude problem

Crew successfully de-orbited on Sunday carrying vital payload: footage for a movie shot in space


The International Space Station has again had to compensate for unexpected thrusting by a Russian spacecraft.

Readers may remember that Russia's Nauka module unexpectedly fired its thrusters upon arrival at the ISS in July 2021.

The space station tilted 45 degrees and required restorative action to resume its intended attitude.

Last Friday, something similar occurred.

As detailed in a NASA update, at 5:02am on October 15th the Soyuz capsule docked at the ISS conducted a test of its thrusters ahead of its return to Earth.

That test went, if anything, too well.

"The thruster firing unexpectedly continued after the end of the test window, resulting in a loss of attitude control for the International Space Station at 5:13am," NASA's update states. "Within 30 minutes, flight controllers regained attitude control of the space station, which is now in a stable configuration. The crew was awake at the time of the event and was not in any danger."

The situation was never as severe as the July incident, which was declared an emergency. Investigations are nonetheless underway, with NASA and Russian space agency Roscosmos "collaborating to understand the root cause".

The unplanned burn didn't stop Soyuz MS-18 from heading home on Sunday, with Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko aboard.

The latter two cosmonauts only spent a dozen days aloft, during which they shot scenes of a film titled "The Challenge". The flick reportedly concerns a cosmonaut who falls ill with a condition that prevents their return to Earth, necessitating an op on the ISS. The footage captured aboard the ISS will become part of the first non-documentary feature shot in space.

The Soyuz capsule landed as planned on the steppes of Kazakhstan on Sunday. ®

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