Tech UPTechnologyThe ISS is forced to perform an unplanned maneuver...

The ISS is forced to perform an unplanned maneuver to avoid colliding with Russian space debris


What would have happened if the piece of space debris had collided with the International Space Station? Experts are not sure but, fortunately, everything was “in a scare” and the maneuver was effective in avoiding a direct collision with the piece of Russian space debris.


What kind of space debris was it?

NASA has reported that on June 16, the ISS had to fire its thrusters for more than four minutes to get out of the way of this moving debris, which was nothing more or less than space debris from a missile test. Russian antisatellite (Cosmos 1408).

Cosmos 1408 was launched in 1982 and deliberately destroyed by the Russians (on November 15, 2021) because it was no longer operational. What’s more, the astronauts who were on the station at the time had to shelter in specific locations on the International Space Station for two hours to let such debris pass (there was internal concern that the orbiting laboratory might be damaged). The event highlighted the threat of space debris . The debris includes up to 1,500 pieces of traceable size that are likely to wreak havoc on spacecraft for a long time to come. Clearly this is a growing problem.

At the time, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said he was “outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action” by Russia. “With its long history of human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only American astronauts and international partners on the ISS, but also its own cosmonauts,” Nelson said.

No danger

The US space agency has clarified, through a press release distributed to the media, that the seven-person crew “was never in danger” and that the maneuver had no impact on station operations. The station has been a focus of tension between Russia and the West following the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Indeed, in March 2022, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin suggested that the ISS could fall from the sky over Europe due to Western sanctions against Russia’s aerospace industry in a clear message of threat.

According to NASA, there are about 23,000 pieces of space debris larger than a tennis ball orbiting Earth. There are half a million pieces of debris the size of a marble or larger, and about 100 million pieces of debris around 0.10 centimeters and larger.

Reference: NASA

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