For 47 minutes, the space station lost control of its orientation when the firing occurred a few hours after docking, pushing the orbital complex out of its normal configuration.
The position of the station is essential for obtaining energy from solar panels and / or communications. Communications with ground controllers were also interrupted twice for a few minutes.
Flight controllers have regained control by using thrusters on other Russian components of the station to right the ship, and it is now stable and safe, NASA said.
“We didn’t notice any damage,” Space Station Program Director Joel Montalbano said at a late afternoon press conference.
“There was no immediate danger to the crew at any time. “
Montalbano said the crew did not feel any movement or shaking. NASA said the station had moved 45 degrees, or about an eighth of a full circle.
The complex never turned up, NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs said.
Kathy Lueders, chief of human spaceflight at NASA, called it “a pretty exciting time.”
The incident prompted NASA to postpone a repeat test flight for the Boeing crew capsule that had been set for Friday afternoon in Florida.
This will be Boeing’s second attempt to reach the 250-mile high station before boarding astronauts; software problems botched the first test.
The long-delayed 22-ton (20 metric-ton) Russian lab called Nauka arrived earlier Thursday, eight days after launching from the Russian launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
The launch of Nauka, which will provide more room for science experiments and space for the crew, had been delayed several times due to technical issues. It was originally planned to go up in 2007.
In 2013, experts discovered contamination in its fuel system, which resulted in a long and expensive replacement. Other Nauka systems have also been modernized or repaired.
Stretching 43 feet (13 meters) long, Nauka became the first new compartment for the Russian segment of the outpost since 2010.
On Monday, one of Russia’s oldest units, the Pirs Spacewalk Compartment, pulled away from the station to make room for the new lab.
Nauka will require numerous maneuvers, including up to 11 spacewalks starting in early September, to prepare it for the operation.
The space station is currently operated by NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur; Oleg Novitsky and Piotrevo from Russian space company Roscosmos; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
In 1998, Russia launched the station’s first compartment, Zarya, which was followed in 2000 by another big chunk, Zvezda, and three smaller modules in subsequent years. The last of them, Rassvet, arrived at the station in 2010.
Russian space officials played down the incident with Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, tweeting: “Everything is in order at the ISS. The crew is resting, that’s what I advise you to do as well.