Nauka module’s near miss raises concerns about future of space station

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Ars Technica 02 August, 2021 - 08:07am 63 views

Saturn to come closest to Earth at 11.30 am today: Senior planetarium official

The Atlantic 01 August, 2021 - 07:53pm

BHUBANESWAR : Saturn and Earth will be closest to each other in a year on August 2 at 11.30 am, said Dr Suvendu Pattnaik, Deputy Director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium.

People across the world that will be in their nighttime, will be able to see a bright Saturn, he told ANI.

"As per Indian Standard Time (IST) at 11.30 am, Saturn and Earth will be closest to each other. It will be daytime in India but wherever there is nighttime, people will see a bright Saturn," said Dr Pattnaik.

Earth takes about 365 days to orbit the sun while Saturn takes around 29.5 years for completing one full revolution of the sun, he informed.

"Once every year, Earth and Saturn come close to each other while revolving in their orbital path. In a time span of 1 year and 13 days they come closest to each other. Earlier, they came close on July 20, 2020 and will again do so on August 14, 2022," said the senior planetarium official.

He further said, "When they are very close to each other, the average distance will be around 120 crores kilometres, which is 50 crore kilometres less in comparison to the maximum distance between them, which happens after 6 months when Saturn will be across the other side of the Earth."

According to him, Saturn will appear bright even with naked eye and it can be seen throughout the night for the whole month of August.

"A few satellites of Saturn can also be seen with a small telescope," he added.

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Saturn to come closest to Earth at 11.30 am today: Senior planetarium official

BGR 01 August, 2021 - 07:53pm

BHUBANESWAR : Saturn and Earth will be closest to each other in a year on August 2 at 11.30 am, said Dr Suvendu Pattnaik, Deputy Director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium.

People across the world that will be in their nighttime, will be able to see a bright Saturn, he told ANI.

"As per Indian Standard Time (IST) at 11.30 am, Saturn and Earth will be closest to each other. It will be daytime in India but wherever there is nighttime, people will see a bright Saturn," said Dr Pattnaik.

Earth takes about 365 days to orbit the sun while Saturn takes around 29.5 years for completing one full revolution of the sun, he informed.

"Once every year, Earth and Saturn come close to each other while revolving in their orbital path. In a time span of 1 year and 13 days they come closest to each other. Earlier, they came close on July 20, 2020 and will again do so on August 14, 2022," said the senior planetarium official.

He further said, "When they are very close to each other, the average distance will be around 120 crores kilometres, which is 50 crore kilometres less in comparison to the maximum distance between them, which happens after 6 months when Saturn will be across the other side of the Earth."

According to him, Saturn will appear bright even with naked eye and it can be seen throughout the night for the whole month of August.

"A few satellites of Saturn can also be seen with a small telescope," he added.

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Russia reports pressure drop in space station service module

Euronews 01 August, 2021 - 11:15am

MOSCOW – The head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency said on Saturday that pressure in a Russian service module on the International Space Station had dropped as a result of an air leak.

Pressure had fallen over a two-week period before a Russian research module, the Nauka, threw the station out of control when its engines fired shortly after docking on Thursday, but Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin said the two events were not linked.

The fall in pressure was a result of a known minor air leak in an isolated transfer chamber of the Zvezda service module and pressure will be raised in the next 24 hours, Roscosmos said in a statement.

“It was an expected and not a ‘sharp’ drop in the still problematic Zvezda and it is not linked to the research module,” Rogozin tweeted in response to media reports.

Pressure in the service module dropped on July 29, the day the Nauka research module docked, to about one third of its level on July 14 but would be increased, Rogozin tweeted.

The air leak in the Zvezda module, which provides living quarters for crew members and life support systems, was detected last year. It poses no danger to the crew but persists despite attempts to fix it by sealing cracks.

Russia said on Friday that a software glitch, and possible lapse in human attention, were to blame for an emergency caused by inadvertently reignited jet thrusters of the Nauka research module.

On Saturday, Russian crew entered the research module after the air was tested and cleaned, Rogozin tweeted.

Russia held a scientific council meeting on Saturday to discuss the future use of the Russian segment of the space station, which was sent into orbit in 1998 and is supposed to work until 2028.

“The chief constructors council noted after considering the current condition of the Russian ISS segment that the use of the Russian ISS segment after 2024 creates additional risks due to the ageing of equipment,” Roscosmos said.

NASA sees possibility of using International Space Station until at least 2028

TASS 31 July, 2021 - 10:41pm

WASHINGTON, August 1. /TASS/. NASA believes that from the standpoint of engineering, it can maintain the work of the International Space Station (ISS) at least until 2028, and possibly even longer, NASA spokesperson Stephanie Schierholz has told TASS.

In a statement on Saturday, Roscosmos said its council of chief designers had considered the current state of the Russian segment of the International Space Station and concluded that due to aging of the largest part of the station’s equipment "further exploitation of the Russian segment of the ISS after 2024 creates additional risks." "To prevent termination of continuous exploration of outer space infrastructure it has been suggested to establish a national manned space complex on the low-earth orbit - the Russian orbital service station," Roscosmos added.

Commenting on the report, Schierholz said: "From an engineering standpoint, we expect we can support station operations beyond that time [2024] through at least 2028 and very likely longer."

"We continue to update our technical analysis of space station life," she added. "Our goal is to have an uninterrupted presence in low-Earth orbit, to be able to transition from the station to other platform(s) where we can continue working in low-Earth orbit."

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov announced in April that the condition of the International Space Station (ISS) left much to be desired and Russia might focus on creating its own orbital outpost. Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin said on April 20 that Russia’s Energia Space Rocket Corporation had been assigned the task of making the first basic module for a new Russian orbital station ready in 2025. Work on it is already underway, he said. Rogozin also posted a video of the first module under construction: this will be a research and power unit that was previously intended for launch to the International Space Station in 2024.

Russia’s future space station will have an inclination of 97-98 degrees. It will fly over the entire planet every two days and will be above the Arctic every one and a half hours, which is important for providing support to the Northern Sea Route. Russia will launch the new space station’s conceptual design before the end of summer.

Unboxing, space-style: WATCH Russian cosmonauts enter new ISS lab module Nauka

RT 31 July, 2021 - 08:51pm

Footage from the International Space Station (ISS) shows Novitsky and his fellow cosmonaut, Pyotr Dubrov, opening the module’s hatch and floating into the Nauka.

Pyotr Dubrov and I welcome everyone from our new module #Nauka!We will conduct a more detailed tour soon. pic.twitter.com/4J5GoOjzJq

The two-minute clip shows the docking port and the workshop area of the module, which is capable of producing enough oxygen for six people and recycling waste into drinkable water, apart from its main purpose of being a lab to carry out experiments. Nauka is also fitted with the 11-meter-long European Robotic Arm supplied by the European Space Agency (ESA).

For those hoping to get a better view of the module’s intricate interior, Novitsky promised to post a more detailed room tour “soon.”

The Nauka module docked with the ISS earlier this week, replacing Russia’s 20-year-old module Pirs, which was undocked from the station before Nauka’s arrival and burnt up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Nauka’s own time as part of the ISS started with a bang. Its arrival on Thursday turned into quite a nerve-racking experience for those aboard the station, and for the ground control team as well. Some three hours after the docking, the module unexpectedly activated its thrusters, spinning the whole station, and turning it some 45 degrees. The ISS was put back in place shortly after the accident, which grabbed international attention.

While the exact nature of the mishap is not known yet, Russia’s space chief, Dmitry Rogozin, dismissed it as a minor accident likely caused by a “human factor.” The head of Roscosmos suggested the ground control might have become so “euphoric” after the docking that someone forgot to shut down Nauka’s orientation control system.

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Yes, The International Space Station Was Briefly Thrown Out of Control

Snopes.com 31 July, 2021 - 09:48am

ICYMI: Earlier today, the Russian Nauka module inadvertently fired its thrusters while docked to the @Space_Station. Mission Control teams corrected the action and all systems are operating normally. The crew was never in any danger. Stay tuned for a media telecon later today: pic.twitter.com/bjuDmdiZu5

— NASA (@NASA) July 29, 2021

Science and technology news site The Verge reported that NASA officials, during a news conference, stated that the space station had shifted as much as 45 degrees during the incident:

The erroneous thruster firings from Russia’s Nauka module, a new 23-ton multipurpose laboratory, began a few hours after it docked to the ISS at 12:25PM ET, NASA spokesman Rob Navias said. Mission control at NASA’s astronaut headquarters in Houston first noticed the space station deviate from its normal position a few minutes later, triggering an automatic alert to the astronauts on board. By 12:42PM ET, the space station had lost control of its positioning, NASA’s ISS manager Joel Montalbano said during a press conference.

The station, an ornate science laboratory with 16 pressurized living and cargo modules, was pitching off track by about 1.5 degrees each minute, NASA officials said. Thrusters on another side of the space station, from Russia’s Zvezda service module, fired up to counter the force from Nauka in what NASA’s mission control communicator described as a “tug of war.”

Seven crew members were aboard the ISS at the time, hailing from the U.S., Japan, and Russia.

NASA said that following the mishap, the agency and Boeing elected to “stand down” on the scheduled launch of Starliner, an uncrewed capsule scheduled to take off on July 30. The Starliner launch was reset for August 3.

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