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ISS News

Nauka Fired Its Thrusters For No Reason – OFT-2 Delayed

By Keith Cowing
July 29, 2021
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Nauka Fired Its Thrusters For No Reason – OFT-2 Delayed

NASA Invites Media to International Space Station Update
Audio of the teleconference will stream live online at: … To participate in the teleconference, media must contact Kathryn Hambleton at by 4 p.m. today for dial-in information.
Keith’s update: NSAA PAO mailed this media advisory at 4:09 pm EDT – 9 minutes after the deadline expired for media to participate. So much for enabling media access.

Keith’s update: NASA and Boeing have delayed Friday’s launch attempt for OFT-2 Starliner due tot he Nauka situation. The new launch date is still TBD.
Keith’s note: Just as the hatch to Nauka was being opened Nauka started to fire its thrusters in an uncontrolled fashion putting the ISS some 45 degrees out of its preferred orientation. Progress thrusters were activated to counteract what Nauka was doing. Then the Service Module used its thrusters to counteract what Nauka was doing. Now Russia is waiting to get another pass to communicate with Nauka to see what is going on – and why. NASA is not saying much of anything other than to say that the crew is not in danger.
Nauka has had problems from the moment it reached space. Indeed it had problems in the decades it sat on the ground and had to have one system after another rebuilt and/or redesigned. It was originally FGB-2 – one of the two FGBs that NASA paid for back in the 1990s. This module was a back-up and was only called into service when Russia decided that it could not afford a much more complex laboratory module.
Nauka was unable to use its propulsion system to do orbit burns so it had to use smaller thrusters to do that. Now that it is docked onto the ISS it is supposed to be passive. As such, the random firing of its thrusters in an uncontrolled fashion such that the space station has to fight back to counter this activity is not the sign of a healthy spacecraft. Add in the fact that there were crew inside when this happend is certainly causing some people at NASA and Roscosmos to be concerned.
You have to wonder if NASA and Boeing are at all interested in launching OFT-2 given that this uncontrollable and unexplained situation exists.
Stay tuned.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.