Balky Thruster responsible for Nail-Biting Manual Soyuz Docking at ISS

Tuesday’s arrival of the next crew members at the International Space Station had more excitement in store for the trio than expected when their Soyuz spacecraft suddenly backed out of its final approach to the orbiting laboratory and started backing away from its destination – requiring experienced Soyuz commander Yuri Malenchenko to manually dock the spacecraft.

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Video: Soyuz aborts Docking Attempt, Arrives at ISS under Manual Control

The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft carrying Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Tim Peake to the International Space Station made a smooth approach on Wednesday until its automated rendezvous system detected a problem and commanded the Soyuz to back away when just 20 meters from its destination. Experienced Soyuz commander Malenchenko assumed manual control and guided the 7,200-Kilogram craft back to a safe docking.

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