A drift in the space station’s normal orientation was first detected by automatic sensors on the ground, and “the crew really didn’t feel any movement,” he said. What caused the malfunction of the thrusters on the Nauka module, delivered by the Russian space agency Roscosmos, has yet to be determined, NASA officials said.
The seven crew members aboard — two Russian cosmonauts, three Nasa astronauts, a Japanese astronaut and a European space agency astronaut from France — were never in any immediate danger, according to Nasa and Russian state-owned news agency RIA.
But the malfunction prompted NASA to postpone until at least Aug. 3 its planned launch of Boeing’s new CST-100 Starliner capsule on an uncrewed test flight to the space station. The Starliner had been set to blast off atop an Atlas V rocket on Friday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Thursday’s mishap began about three hours after the multipurpose Nauka module had latched onto the space station, as mission controllers in Moscow were performing some post-docking “reconfiguration” procedures, according to Nasa.
A live broadcast showed the module, named after the Russian word for “science,” docking with the space station a few minutes later than scheduled. “According to telemetry data and reports from the ISS crew, the onboard systems of the station and the Nauka module are operating normally,” Roscosmos said in a statement.