NASA has been forced to fire ISS boosters to dodge Russian space debris

NASA has been forced to fire ISS boosters to dodge Russian space debris

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use.

NASA has announced that the International Space Station (ISS) performed an orbital course correction on Monday. The ISS rarely needs to adjust its orbit, but in this case it was necessary to avoid a piece of Russian space debris. The agency says the dangerous piece of junk came from the Cosmos 1408 satellite, which Russia destroyed in an anti-satellite weapons test in late 2021.

The crew fired the engines of Progress 81 (appropriately, a Russian cargo ship) docked at the station for about five minutes (305 seconds). After the maneuver, the station’s apogee (highest point in its orbit) rose 0.2 miles. Its perigee (lowest point) rose 0.8 miles. That was enough to steer clear of the debris, which is expected to come within three miles of the station. Even a small piece of space junk could seriously damage the station and endanger the lives of astronauts due to its high speed relative to the ISS.

NASA says Monday evening’s Predestined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM) did not affect space station operations. However, this may become a more common operation as the orbit around Earth becomes increasingly crowded. The anti-satellite weapons test certainly isn’t making things any better either. Russia’s decision in November 2021 to test its anti-satellite weaponry on its own satellite produced more than 1,500 pieces of traceable debrisall of which are potentially hazardous to space operations.

NASA got it right when they announced the course correction, leaving their likely frustration with the Russians unspoken. The agency got as spicy as it could when it commented on the destruction of Cosmos 1408. After the test, Russia was heavily criticized by the world’s space agencies, including NASA, who called the test “dangerous and irresponsible”. More recently, Russia has done so threatened use similar weapons against SpaceX’s Starlink satellites, which provide connectivity to Ukrainian military forces in their war with Russia.

As this maneuver illustrates, an escalation of the space war involving the collection of satellites could put the ISS and other missions at serious risk. This is one of the reasons why the US proposed an end to orbital weapons testing several weeks ago Russia is unlikely to agree to such a ban: it is already moving away from working with other space agencies. Earlier this year, Russia’s Roscosmos announced it would withdraw from International Space station after 2024 so he could focus on building his own station.

Now read:

#NASA #forced #fire #ISS #boosters #dodge #Russian #space #debris

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button