Space engineers will analyze whether the malfunction that caused the International Space Station to shift from a normal orientation affected their systems, a Russian space official reported on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the rockets for increasing the pressure on the Russian module Nauka caught fire shortly after arriving on the International Space Station, which is why the laboratory went into orbit in one and a half revolutions. The Russian control of the mission fired the thrusters of the second Russian module and the cargo ship in order to stop the rotation and return the station to its normal position.
Sergei Krikalev, director of the manned program at Russia’s Roscosmos space corporation, said Thursday’s incident did not cause obvious damage to the station, but experts should study its possible consequences.
There seems to be no harm, Krikalev said in an interview broadcast on state television. But experts need to assess the tensions the station has suffered and the consequences.
U.S. and Russian space officials said the station’s seven crew members were never in danger during the incident.
The station must be properly aligned to get maximum power from its solar panels and to maintain communication with support teams on Earth. That communication was interrupted twice for a few minutes on Thursday.
NASA said Tuesday that the station was shifted 45 degrees while Nauk’s engines were running and that the crew was discussing a loss of control.
Further analysis showed that the total change in position before regaining control of the normal position was (tilde) 540 degrees, NASA said, adding that the station was in good condition and operating normally.
Krikalev, a veteran of six space missions who spent a total of 803 days in orbit, said the ignition of the engine generated dynamic weight on parts of the station, which required thorough analysis to determine if some were overloaded.