NASA says the International Space Station (ISS) this week switched to a higher orbit to dodge debris from a Russian satellite. The agency spotted the garbage and calculated it would fly within three miles of the ISS, too close proximity for comfort.
The space station’s ground crew fired thrusters on Progress 81, the Russian cargo aircraft docked at the station, for five minutes and five seconds in a predetermined debris avoidance maneuver (PDAM), and increased the station’s altitude. of 2/10 of a mile at the apogee and 8/10 of a mile at the perigee.
NASA said the maneuver had no impact on the station’s operations.
The debris was identified by NASA as the former Russian Cosmos 1408 satellite, a known instigator that previously caused problems.
Its fate as space junk was sealed in November 2021 when Russia destroyed the 2,200kg intelligence satellite, launched in 1982, during a missile technology test.
At the time, the US State Department condemned the experiment for endangering “human spaceflight activities”. Seven astronauts were aboard the ISS at the time of the destruction of the Cosmos 1408. NASA administrator Bill Nelson called the missile test and subsequent cloud of splinters “irresponsible” and “destabilizing”.
Russian space agency Roscosmos, a longtime ISS collaborator, warned in August that its partnership could end between 2025 and 2030 as the country tries to build its own space station. Roscosmos said it will have something ready by 2028.
Partners from NASA and the non-Russian ISS have indicated that they will extend ISS operations until 2030. ®