The International Space Station flipped 540 degrees in the Nukka rocket accident last week. NASA said she was only 45

A Russian unit docked at the International Space Station (ISS) accidentally launched its thrusts on July 29, causing the 109-meter station to deviate from its usual position.

NASA’s first assessment was that the International Space Station had deviated 45 degrees from its normal orientation when the Naoka Laboratory module’s engines fired.

We now know it was much more than that.

Speaking to the New York Times, NASA flight manager Zebulon Scoville said the space station had in fact rotated 540 degrees — a full and a half turn — before coming to rest on its head.

“Never be proud”

NASA confirmed the news in a tweet on Wednesday, saying, “Further analysis showed an overall change in the situation before normal control of the situation was restored was ~540 degrees.”

Scoville, who stepped in to cover another flight manager’s mission shortly before the accident, said it was the first time in his career that he had been forced to declare a “spacecraft emergency.”

“I have never: 1) been more proud of the team that works in my CCC [Mission Control Centre] And she lives on Space_Station, 2) I had to declare a spacecraft emergency so far, 3) I was so happy to see all the solar arrays + radiators still connected,” he wrote on Twitter.

The station needs to maintain a specific position – its orientation in space – to generate maximum power from the solar panels and stay in contact with the Earth.

‘No harm done’

Flight Director Scoville tweeted shortly after the incident, summarizing his experience with what happened.

Officials from NASA and the Russian space company Roscosmos said the station and its crew were not in danger during the nearly hour-long crash.

Sergei Krikalev, director of manned spaceflight at Roscosmos, told Russian television that the accident did not cause any observable damage to the station.

“It appears that there is no damage, but it is up to the specialists to assess how we stressed the station and what the consequences are,” he said.

“Continuing analysis after last week’s event with the unplanned launch of the Nukka rockets has shown that the space station remains in good shape and systems are operating normally,” NASA said on Wednesday.

“Importantly, the maximum rate and acceleration of attitude change did not approach the safety limits for station systems and normal operations resumed once situation control was restored.”

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