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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Surprise Russian thruster firing signals space station emergency

On Sunday, the same spacecraft that experienced the thruster event is expected to bring back to Earth a Russian film crew that was sent to the station on October 5 aboard a separate Soyuz spacecraft. NASA Mission Control, heard on a livestream of Mission Control audio, indicated that the thruster firing event delayed a planned film shooting in the station’s dome, a room with six windows facing toward Earth. Ms. Cheshire said the undocking of the MS-18 spacecraft with the crew inside would happen at 9:14 p.m. Saturday as planned.

In July, Russia docked its ferry module on the orbital base, adding a new room for science experiments on the Russian section of the station. Hours later, the ferry’s thrusters suddenly began firing, circling the station one-and-a-half degrees—about 540 degrees—before it stalled upside down.

Unexpected shocks to the space station, which is the size of a football field, emphasize the forest of instrumentation on its exterior. After the ferry incident, NASA Flight Director Zebulon Scoville, who managed the agency’s emergency response that day, said on twitter That he had never been so pleased to see “all the solar arrays + radiators still attached.”

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NASA and Russia have maintained a long relationship on the space station over the past two decades. But in recent years, elements of the station have shown signs of their age, including some air leaks on the Russian side.

NASA wants to continue the partnership with Russia and keep the station operational until 2030, gradually handing over the American elements of the laboratory to private American companies. But Russia’s space chief, Dmitry Rogozin, has suggested Moscow could exit the orbital partnership in 2025, one of the latest signs that relations between the two space powers are beginning to crumble.

Russia has strengthened its ties with China’s space program. The two countries signed an agreement in March to work on lunar bases that would rival plans for NASA’s Artemis moon exploration program.

China this year launched the first elements of its new space station and sent its second crew of three astronauts on Friday for a six-month mission.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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