© Reuters. The Nauka (Science) Multipurpose Laboratory Module is seen docked to the International Space Station (ISS) July 29, 2021. Oleg Novitskiy/Roscosmos/Handout via REUTERS
By Andrew Osborn and Alexander Marrow
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia sought to reassure international partners on Friday that an incident which briefly knocked the International Space Station (ISS) off course had been contained and said it would press ahead with integrating a newly-attached Russian module.
The ISS was thrown off course on Thursday after the engines of the Russian Nauka, or ‘science’, research module fired up about three hours after it had latched on.
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky on Friday told his followers on Twitter not to worry.
“Dear friends, I’m reading your numerous comments. Don’t worry! Our work at the International Space Station to integrate the newly arrived Nauka module continues! Tonight we are going to open the hatches. Will keep you posted!”
Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, said work to integrate Nauka with the ISS was underway and Russian cosmonauts would later open the module’s hatch to try to access it.
It said checks on Nauka’s engines were being completed remotely by Russian specialists to ensure everyone’s safety and that the ISS was on its normal flight trajectory.
It said that the docking had been successful in so far as the seal between the new module and the rest of the ISS was hermetic.
It did not say what had prompted Nauka’s engines to unexpectedly roar into life.
Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, had hailed Nauka’s docking with the ISS the previous day as “a very difficult and important victory for us” and warmly accepted congratulations on Twitter from space entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Rogozin also spoke of plans to launch another Russian module to the ISS in November.
Roscosmos has suffered a series of mishaps and corruption scandals, including during the construction of the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the country’s far east where contractors were accused of embezzling state funds.
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