Russian space officials Wednesday said that engineers will examine whether the glitch that caused the International Space Station’s spin out of its normal orientation may have affected any of its systems.
Sergei Krikalev (director of crewed programs at Roscosmos), stressed that the incident last week did not cause any visible damage to the station. However, he stated that experts would have to examine its possible implications.
Krikalev stated that “it appears there is not damage” in an interview with Russian state television. “But specialists will have to evaluate how we stressed the station and the consequences.”
Shortly after Russia’s Nauka laboratory modules arrived at the International Space Station, thrusters were fired. The orbiting outpost spun slowly for about one-and a half revolutions. Russia’s mission controllers used thrusters to stop the station from rotating and push it back to its original position.
Officials from both the U.S. Space Agency and Russia claimed that the seven-member crew of the station wasn’t in danger.
To get maximum power from the solar panels, and to keep in touch with Earth support teams back home, the station must be correctly aligned. On Thursday, the space station’s communication with ground controllers was interrupted twice.
NASA tweeted Tuesday afternoon that the station was 45 degrees off alignment. Nauka’s thrusters still fired and the crew was discussing loss of control.
NASA stated that “station is in good condition and operating normally” after further analysis.
Roscosmos’ Krikalev is a veteran of six space missions and spent 803 days in orbit. He noted Wednesday that the firing of orientation engines caused a dynamic load to the station’s components. This made it necessary for Roscosmos to conduct a detailed analysis to determine if some of these could be overstressed.