by Brooks Hays
Moscow (UPI) Jun 10, 2015
The International Space Station shifted orbit on Tuesday after engines on the docked Soyuz spacecraft inexplicably fired for roughly a minute.
The Russian crew was testing a radio system that manipulates the docking mechanism when the glitch happened, but engineers aren't sure whether the engines were accidentally signaled by the cosmonauts or by mission controllers back on Earth.
According to Interfax, a non-governmental news agency based in Moscow, one source claimed an erroneous signal was issued by controllers on the ground. Officials with the Russian space agency Roscosmos said they were looking into the glitch.
NASA confirmed the glitch early Wednesday, but assured readers the space station's orientation was quickly normalized.
"There was no threat to the crew or the station itself, and the issue will have no impact to a nominal return to Earth of the Soyuz TMA-15M on Thursday," officials wrote in a blog update. "Roscosmos specialists are determining the cause of the incident. Once more information is known, additional information will be provided."
Though Russian rockets have suffered a number of recent failures, NASA has no choice but to continue to rely on Roscosmos to ferry American astronauts back and forth from the space station.
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Space Station News at Space-Travel.Com
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