Risk
9/24/2010
02:33 PM
50%
50%

Malfunction Delays Space Station Astronauts' Return to Earth

A malfunction with the Soyuz TMA-18's docking mechanism has been repaired and undocking of the spacecraft rescheduled for Friday night.




Image Gallery: Who's Who In U.S. Intelligence
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)
A malfunction with a spacecraft docking mechanism delayed the return of three astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) to Earth late Thursday.

Astronauts on Friday were able to successfully repair the problem that prevented two Russians, Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko, and American Tracy Caldwell Dyson from undocking the Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft from the ISS on Thursday, according to NASA. They were scheduled land in Kazakhstan early Friday local time.

Soyuz TMA-18 is now scheduled to undock at 10:02 pm EDT Friday and make the trip back to Earth, landing Saturday in Kazakhstan if all goes according to schedule. Their departure will leave three astronauts aboard the ISS.

The docking problem is the second notable system failure astronauts aboard the ISS have encountered in as many months. Last month NASA sent astronauts on an emergency spacewalk to repair a failed cooling system.

Astronauts on the ISS noticed the problem when they tried to unlock the spacecraft Thursday and hooks attaching its Poisk module to the ISS failed to open. Mission controllers in Moscow also did not receive the "hatch locked" signal from the module letting them know the operation had completed successfully, according to NASA.

While troubleshooting the problem, Flight Engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin found a small star-shaped gear with two broken teeth, but it's unclear whether this prevented the hooks from unlocking. Experts are currently evaluating whether the part is related to the problem, according to NASA.

Overnight, Yurchikhin and crew members installed a series of jumper cables to open the Poisk module hooks and latches. They were left open overnight in preparation for Friday's second attempt at undocking.

Skvortsov, Dyson and Kornienko arrived at the ISS in April when the Soyuz TMA-18 first docked with the ISS. They are crew members of Expedition 24, which began in June and conducted a variety experiments in human research; biology and biotechnology; physical and materials sciences' technology development; and Earth and space sciences.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-5426
Published: 2014-11-27
MatrikonOPC OPC Server for DNP3 1.2.3 and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (unhandled exception and DNP3 process crash) via a crafted message.

CVE-2014-2037
Published: 2014-11-26
Openswan 2.6.40 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (NULL pointer dereference and IKE daemon restart) via IKEv2 packets that lack expected payloads. NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE 2013-6466.

CVE-2014-6609
Published: 2014-11-26
The res_pjsip_pubsub module in Asterisk Open Source 12.x before 12.5.1 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) via crafted headers in a SIP SUBSCRIBE request for an event package.

CVE-2014-6610
Published: 2014-11-26
Asterisk Open Source 11.x before 11.12.1 and 12.x before 12.5.1 and Certified Asterisk 11.6 before 11.6-cert6, when using the res_fax_spandsp module, allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) via an out of call message, which is not properly handled in the ReceiveFax dia...

CVE-2014-7141
Published: 2014-11-26
The pinger in Squid 3.x before 3.4.8 allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information or cause a denial of service (out-of-bounds read and crash) via a crafted type in an (1) ICMP or (2) ICMP6 packet.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?