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The International Space Station Has Been Tipped Off Orbit Once Again By A Soyuz Craft

The International Space Station was briefly tilted out of its normal orbit last Friday, forcing astronauts aboard to take emergency measures.

The incident was caused when a thruster continued to fire for longer than intended, which is one of many problems plaguing the aging Russian portion of the space station in recent years.

Before the scheduled departure of the Russian actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko – who shot the first movie in space – Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novinsky was testing the thruster on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft.

“The orbital positioning control of the station was lost at 5.13 a.m. ET after thruster firing remained after the end of the testing window,” NASA stated in a blog post.

In April, the Russian film crew was scheduled to return to Earth in the craft, docked with the Nauka science module of the International Space Station.

According to a ROSCOSMOS statement, the “station and crew are not in danger”, since the altitude control was “quickly restored by the ISS Russian Division Chief Operating Control Group specialists.”

The mission to bring the Russian crew home went ahead as planned, and the crew touched down safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan on Sunday.

Some Russian modules on the ISS are more than two decades old, making them some of the oldest on the station.

Friday’s mishap marked the second time a Russian spacecraft shifted the ISS out of orbit in two months. The thrusters on the Nauka science module began firing on their own in July, tilting the station over 45 degrees.

Afterwards, the chief engineer of Energia, a leading Russian space firm, warned that the International Space Station could fail irreparably due to aging hardware.


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