Astronauts pilot Russian spacecraft to another “port” on the ISS; know the reason

The Russian spacecraft Soyuz MS-, which arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) in early April this year, was transported to a “door” in the new Russian module Nauka. Cosmonauts from the Russian space agency (Roscosmos), Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov, together with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, maneuvered the spacecraft, which was moored to the Rassvelt module, to free it. This module will receive another Russian spacecraft soon, which will arrive there at the beginning of October.

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    The three crewmen conducted a maneuver that lasted about 45 minutes during the morning of this Thursday (21). The objective was to transfer the Soyuz MS-17 from the Rassvelt module — the which faces Earth—to the newcomer Nauka module. While Novitsky piloted the ship, Dubrov and Vande Hei assisted the entire operation. At around 9 am 17 (Brasilia time), the procedure was completed with success.

    The Soyuz MS ship-17 during the relocation maneuver (Image: Playback/NASA)

    As soon as the Russian spacecraft has been released from the Rassvet module, it has been maneuvered to a distance of 28 meters from the Harbor. Then, she was again maneuvered further away, about 120 meters, and did a small detour stops towards the North American segment of the ISS, to obtain new images of the entire orbital laboratory. Finally, then, he arrived at the Nauka multifunctional laboratory module.

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    This is the first time that the Nauka has received a ship since arriving on the ISS in July this year. The module had some serious problems after its docking, when its thrusters fired unexpectedly. The failure caused the space station to rotate around its axis about one and a half times, but now, everything seems to go according to plan.

    Artistic representation of the currently berthed ships to the ISS (Image: Playback/NASA)

    Now the Rassvelt module is free to receive another Russian Soyuz spacecraft, which will take the first civilians to the ISS since 120. Its launch is scheduled to take place on October 5th. On this trip, Russian actress Yulia Peresild, director Klim Shipenko and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov will embark on production of the first film recorded directly in space, called The challenge. In October 17 they will return to Earth aboard the Soyuz MS-18, in the company of Novitsky.

    Vande Hei and Dubrov will remain on board the ISS until March 2022. Upon returning to Earth, Vande Hei will earn the mark of American astronaut to spend more time in orbit. But before the Russian film crew boards there, SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship, currently attached to the Harmony module, will leave the station to return with payloads and scientific equipment.

    In addition to being the first time the Nauka has received a ship, the maneuver mission marked the 18 Soyuz’s relocation in ISS history and is the first since March of this year. The module has arrived to provide a new laboratory and robotic arm to the station, including a sleeping area and bathroom, extending a little of the crew’s short space.

    Source: Space.com, NASA

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