Soyuz Thruster “Glitch” Shifts the Space Station’s Position

In the latest of what has become a string of incidents, some serious and some minor, for the Russian space program, Roscosmos reported yesterday that a “glitch” with a Soyuz spacecraft attached to the International Space Station resulted in an inadvertent thruster firing. The firing, which took place at 10:27 AM CDT, occurred during a test of the radio system that controls docking procedures for the Russian segment. As a result, the Station’s orbital position was slightly shifted, but that in turn was soon corrected by a firing of the Station’s own thruster system.

Although the Roscosmos report did not identify which of the two Soyuz craft currently docked at ISS was responsible for the firing, a NASA update this morning identified it as TMA-15M, the same craft that is due to return three crew members on Thursday. That landing which was delayed by a month after the failure of a Progress resupply vessel on April 27 is still on track for tomorrow, and NASA says that the thruster incident will not impact the return schedule.

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  1. And recall also that the Progress orbit correction failed on May 16. This has really been a bad month for Russian spaceflight.

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