US-Russia Rocket Glitch in Space Delays Astronauts En Route to ISS

US-Russia Rocket Glitch in Space Delays Astronauts En Route to ISS

ISS

A rocket carrying American and Russian astronauts to the International Space Station experienced a failure in its orientation system which has prevented it from docking.

Early Wednesday morning, a Soyuz rocket launched from Kazakhstan, carrying a crew of one American and two Russian astronauts. Bound for the International Space Station (ISS), a maneuver intended to alter its orbital path to dock with the ISS failed to work "as planned."

Oleg Ostapenko, the head of the Roscosmos Russian space agency, said that the problem was caused by a failure of the ship's orientation system. While the astronauts are not said to be in any danger, their six hour flight has been delayed significantly, with their next docking opportunity likely to be 23:58 GMT on Thursday. Until then, the ISS will remain understaffed, with a crew of three.

Ever since it retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011, the US has relied on Russia to fly its astronauts to the ISS. Given the political climate in light of Russia's annexation of Crimea earlier this month, concerns about future cooperation may seem natural. Still, for the time being, the two countries are continuing to work together on the space program, as they have since the end of the Cold War. At a press conference before the rocket launch, the astronauts said they would treat dinners aboard the space station "as an opportunity to come together as friends in the kitchen and look each other in the eye."

Source: BBC News

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Shit, it's a pity they had that problem, but I'm still dumbfounded at how anyone docks with an orbiting spacecraft in the first place. Doing the maths for it is one thing, physically doing it is a different ball game. So more power to them.

It is sad, though, that spaceflight has been put on the back-burners in recent years. Every day we delay sending more stuff into space is another day I don't get to bang alien hotties... or at least rub myself on some bit of them most approximating human genitals.

Bke:
Shit, it's a pity they had that problem, but I'm still dumbfounded at how anyone docks with an orbiting spacecraft in the first place. Doing the maths for it is one thing, physically doing it is a different ball game. So more power to them.

I think it's fascinating how "easy" it is to just calculate these trajectories. I mean... Obviously, the calculations are complex, but once the calculations are made, these objects behave just the way we expect them to. Want to launch a deep space probe that boomerangs around a planet in order to get into orbit with another? Just do some math, and voila! Set it and forget it, no remote steering needed.

Rhykker:
I think it's fascinating how "easy" it is to just calculate these trajectories. I mean... Obviously, the calculations are complex, but once the calculations are made, these objects behave just the way we expect them to. Want to launch a deep space probe that boomerangs around a planet in order to get into orbit with another? Just do some math, and voila! Set it and forget it, no remote steering needed.

Well what I mean is that its easy enough for a computer to execute the orders and functions you instruct it to, but the moment something unexpected occurs, which usually happens between launch and orbit, it's kinda difficult to fix right away. Ergo the current situation.

On the note of manually piloting a spacecraft to docking though... wow that must be stressful. Having slightly different sized orbits at slightly different speeds, aiming for something that you can barely spot against the infinite blackness, roaring along at thousands of kilometers every hour... Again, it's fortunate computers deal with most of this stuff.

Russian Engineers need to play more Kerbal Space Program

I didn't see anything about this in the article but did they say they fixed the problem? This could develop into a serious issue if not. They think it could be anything: Hardware, software, or the orientation of the ship. Who knows what it is?

NuclearKangaroo:
Russian Engineers need to play more Kerbal Space Program

Or maybe they need to play a little less?

 

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