NEW YORK, October 16. /TASS/. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Russia’s space agency Roscosmos work closely to find the cause behind a brief incident with the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, a spokesman for NASA told TASS.
"Flight controllers are continuing to evaluate data on the station’s brief attitude change due to the thruster firing. NASA and Roscosmos are collaborating to understand the root cause," according to the NASA spokesman.
The Energia Space Rocket Corporation (part of Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos) announced to TASS on Friday that the ISS restored its normal position after it briefly moved out of its orientation testing the engines of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft and the crew was not in danger. The orbital outpost’s orientation was promptly restored by the staff of the ISS Russian Segment’s main flight control group, the space rocket corporation specified.
NASA’s spokesman said that control over the ISS was regained within 30 minutes following a reported incident with a test-fire of thrusters of MS-18 spacecraft, which is currently docked to the orbital outpost.
"At 5:02 a.m. EDT [12:02 Moscow time], Russian flight controllers conducted a scheduled thruster firing test on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft," he said. "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 5:13 a.m. [12:13 Moscow time]."
"Within 30 minutes, flight controllers regained attitude control of the space station, which is now in a stable configuration," he added.
The US space agency’s spokesman noted that Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft with a film crew on board would return from the ISS as scheduled despite the brief incident.
"The Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft is scheduled to return to Earth Saturday night [early Sunday, Moscow time] with three crew members aboard," he said.
The spokesman said that in line with the initial schedule, the crew of the spacecraft will bid farewells to the crew of the space station on October 16 at 4:15 pm EDT (23:15 Moscow time), the undocking will begin at 9:00 pm EDT (4:00 Moscow time, October 17), the deorbit burn stage will start at 11:15 pm (6:16 Moscow time, October 17) and the landing will take place at 12:36 am EDT on October 17 (7:36 Moscow time, October 17).
Currently, 10 crewmembers are working aboard the ISS: Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild and film director Klim Shipenko, NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.
The film crew consisting of actress Yulia Peresild and film director Klim Shipenko is shooting the first-ever movie in outer space about a woman doctor who travels to the orbital outpost to save a cosmonaut’s life. Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov also have parts in the movie. The actress and the film director were scheduled to spend 12 days in orbit and come back to Earth together with cosmonaut Novitsky aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft’s descent module on the morning of October 17.