The International Space Station changes orbit to dodge Russian space junk

The International Space Station changes orbit to dodge Russian space junk

In 2021, Russia blew up a missing Cosmos 1408 satellite in orbit in a widely condemned missile test. On Monday night, the International Space Station performed an evasive maneuver to get away from space debris left by the test.

“This evening, the International Space Station’s Progress 81 thrusters fired for five minutes and five seconds in a predetermined debris avoidance maneuver (PDAM) to provide the complex with an additional measure of distance from the intended track of a fragment of the Russian cosmos 1408. remains”, NASA said in a statement. Progress 81 is a Russian cargo ship docked at the ISS. The spacecraft’s thrusters can be used to move the station into orbit.

Without the maneuver, the debris fragment was expected to pass within 5 kilometers of the station, which would have been too close for comfort. The thrusters moved the ISS into a higher-altitude orbit.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson had called the missile test “irresponsible”. The crew of the ISS was forced to take emergency shelter shortly after the test was carried out in 2021. In early 2022, the European Space Agency’s Earth observation The Sentinel-1A satellite barely escaped a collision with the remains of Cosmos 1408.

Space junk is a worsening problem. The debris field ranges from non-functional full-sized satellites to small pieces of junk. Even small pieces can damage satellites, spacecraft and space stations. Space agencies constantly monitor debris so that corrections can be made to keep space assets safe.

NASA said Monday’s repositioning maneuver did not affect ISS activities.

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