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An expected engine burn on board the Soyuz capsule taking three astronauts to ISS did not take place as scheduled, forcing at minimum a two day delay in the rendezvous and docking.

An expected engine burn on board the Soyuz capsule taking three astronauts to ISS did not take place as scheduled, forcing at minimum a two day delay in the rendezvous and docking.

[NASA spokesman Rob] Navias said the engine burn was aborted due to a problem with the Soyuz’s attitude control system, but further details were not immediately available. “Right now we don’t understand exactly what happened,” a mission manager at Russian Mission Control told the Soyuz crew late Thursday. Ground controllers planned to download data from the Soyuz and determine whether the glitch was due to a hardware or software problem. [emphasis mine]

Though the astronauts are not in any immediate danger, this is very worrisome. Indications from various other news stories suggest the problem was software related, which in a sense is a good thing. They would still have the option to manually fire their engines to do a manual rendezvous and docking. However, if it isn’t a software issue, and the vagueness of the reports so far makes me wonder about this, they might instead be stranded. Let us hope not.

Update: This report gives a little more information. It appears the capsule itself was not in the right orientation at burn time, and the computer software, sensing this, canceled the burn. If so, the problem might be software (incorrectly gauging the position of the spacecraft) or mechanical (something failing so that the capsule is not oriented correctly). Engineers need to find out which.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • wodun

    Scary and two days in one of those must be unpleasant.

  • geoffc

    Soyuz was designed for multi-week long missions. The descent capsule is cramped and tiny. The Orbital module on top has more room, and just having two rooms helps. Someone at the controls, and two others in the Orbital module can make things much more bearable.

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