Yesterday, the International Space Station (ISS) experienced a glitch that shifted its position slightly. This happened when engine of one of ISS docked spacecrafts fired unexpectedly. Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, has not yet said anything about the factors that might have caused malfunction of the spacecraft’s engines. However, the agency has clearly stated that the space station’s six-member crew is perfectly safe.
As mentioned above, the incident took place yesterday i.e. Tuesday, June 9. Right now, the floating laboratory is home to a couple of Soyuz spaceships. One of those crafts is expected to return half of the crew at the International Space Station back to the Earth sometime tomorrow.
The engines fired up when scientists were testing the radio system employed to control the entire docking procedure. This happened suddenly, without any warning. The ISS was not ready for the glitch; it bumped out of its planned orbit immediately after the engines fired up.
Experts and engineers haven’t wasted any time to begin efforts of making the situation normal; proper measures have already been taken for stabilizing the space station. Also, investigations are also underway for finding out the actual factors responsible for starting the engines unexpectedly.
This is not the first time the ISS is experiencing problems in recent times. The year 2015 has been quite topsy-turvy for the space station. In January, an astronaut crew was evacuated from a part of the ISS due to an alleged gas leak.
Then, three months later i.e. in April, Progress M-27M, a resupply spacecraft, experienced a serious malfunction and spun out of control almost immediately after being launched. Eventually, the craft crashed back towards earth. Latest reports suggest, the M-27M burnt up when it reentered the atmosphere.
These incidents forced Roscosmos to delay all manned missions to the International Space Station. Instead, the space agency decided to concentrate on comprehending what went wrong with Progress.
Initially, the ISS was expected to last till 2020. However, since its launch 17 years ago, in 1998 to be more precise, it has been bombarded with huge quantities of celestial junk. According to one of the latest announcements made by the Russian space agency, as scheduled, three astronauts from the space station will return to Earth on Thursday aboard a Soyuz spaceship.