- Joined Aug 27, 2009
Yesterday's unexpected tilting of the International Space Station was caused by a software glitch, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos.
A new Russian module dubbed Nauka arrived at the space station Thursday morning (July 29). In development for more than a decade, Nauka is designed to host science experiments, anchor visiting vehicles and serve as a gateway for spacewalks. However, while the module's arrival appeared to go smoothly, about three hours after docking, the module unexpectedly began firing its thrusters in an incident that caused the space station to tilt from its typical position for about 45 minutes in what engineers call a "loss of attitude control."
"Due to a short-term software failure, a direct command was mistakenly implemented to turn on the module's engines for withdrawal, which led to some modification of the orientation of the complex as a whole," Roscosmos officials wrote in a statement published on Friday (July 30).