Last week, we followed closely the docking of the Russian science module to the International Space Station. Hours after docking, the flag started its engines and began spinning the entire space station. Now it turned out that the situation was much more serious than originally reported.
When everyone thought that after a long wandering, the flag was in the right place, a few hours after docking, it started its engines and … it started spinning the entire International Space Station. The situation was so dangerous that the astronauts had to turn on the engines of other units to counteract the science engines. In both cases, as NASA reports on a regular basis, the station has been rotated 45 degrees about one of its axes. Or so it might seem.
But it was much worse
Real-time information from NASA indicated that the crew was not endangered at any point during the entire incident. At the same time, experts were skeptical about the whole event and the tone of NASA’s reassuring messages. Especially since those in the mission control center at a post-work event noted that they “never enjoyed the fact that the solar panels did not detach from the space station.” Do you see a contradiction between these messages?
Well, after starting the engines, the Science unit rotated the station not 45 degrees, but 540 degrees! This means that the entire space station made one and a half complete revolutions around one of its axes and eventually stopped “upside down”. Only then did the station rotate another 180 degrees to return to its original orientation in space.
It was then that Scoville announced a space station alert for the first time in his career. At the same time, as he himself admits, the space station crew was not in danger, because while the rotation was more dangerous than 45 degrees, the rate of rotation was relatively low and the astronauts might not even feel it at first.
As reported, the Science after Mooring unit started the engines and wanted…to move away from the space station it had just docked on. Moreover, as it turned out a moment later, the unit could only be controlled from the Scientific Unit Mission Control Center in Russia, over which the space station was supposed to fly in an hour. Hence, engineers started the Zwiezda unit’s engines and the Progress ship to counteract the thrust generated by the Science engines. The unit turned off the motors after only a quarter of an hour.
In that context, it’s no surprise Scoville took to Twitter after the cosmic frenzy ended. this is. truly. she was. Fabulous. day.
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