NASA-Roscosmos Tiff – Russia says examining consequences of US spacecraft failure to adjust ISS orbit

The Russian space agency is examining the situation that arose due to the failure of the American cargo spacecraft Cygnus NG-17 to adjust the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) because NASA is not sure of this that caused the boost maneuver to fail, Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday.

“We are managing the situation. The orbit still needs to be raised,” Rogozin said on Telegram.

On Monday, the Cygnus NG-17 robotic spacecraft made by Northrop Grumman was due to perform its first operational reboost on the ISS. The orbit of the space station must be changed from time to time as it naturally falls back into the Earth’s atmosphere. The planned maneuver was aborted after only 5 seconds for unknown reasons.

The ISS reboost was originally scheduled for Saturday but was delayed after the Russian Progress MS-18 cargo spacecraft, docked at the orbiting lab, performed a 4.5-minute reboost on Thursday to ensure the station spacecraft avoids a piece of debris.

An American spacecraft has been entrusted with correcting the orbit of the ISS for the first time since 2011. All reboost maneuvers have since been carried out by the Russian Progress spacecraft or engines installed on the Russian segment of the ISS.

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Meanwhile, earlier in June, US space tourism company Axiom Space paid Russian space agency Roscosmos for US astronaut Mark Vande Hei’s flight to the International Space Station (ISS) after a month’s delay, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said on Saturday.

“We received full payment not from NASA, but from Axiom, who acted as the go-between in arranging this mission… [They] promised to pay us by the end of May, but they were late by exactly one month, so there was a delay,” Rogozin told broadcaster Rossiya 24.

The head of Roscosmos added that the flight was paid for entirely in rubles.

Rogozin noted that NASA had come under pressure from the US Congress over Vande Hei’s flight, so it chose Axiom Space, a private company, as an intermediary to book a seat on a Russian spacecraft.

Rogozin said earlier that Roscosmos had not yet received payment for Vande Hei’s flight and expected to receive 2 billion rubles ($34.7 million) for the seat by the end of May in rubles. He added that the US counterparts blamed the delay on “logistical problems” and pledged to pay in full in May.

Vande Hei docked with the ISS on April 9, 2021, with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov after the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft launched them into orbit. Dubrov and Vande Hei returned to Earth on March 31, 2022 and broke the record for the longest stay on the ISS at 355 days.

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