ISS initiates move to avoid space debris

Katie Ramirez
September 23, 2020

Russian and United States flight controllers worked together during a two-and-a-half-minute operation to adjust the station's orbit and move further away, avoiding collision.

NASA instructed them, "out of abundance of caution", to move to the Russian section of the ISS closer to Soyuz spacecraft.

The debris passed within about 1.4 kilometers (nearly one mile) of the ISS, NASA said.

SSA also included a manifest in their tweet for the International Space Station's next three years.

According to NASA, an avoidance maneuver took place using the Russian Progress resupply spacecraft while astronauts aboard the ISS take shelter inside their Soyuz spacecraft.

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Johnathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, confirmed that the object which had forced this latest manoeuvre was the remnant of a Japanese H-2A F40 rocket. The rocket broke up into 77 different pieces past year.

Colliding with orbital debris, or space junk, of even a few centimetres in diameter would be potentially catastrophic to the space station given that objects in low-earth orbit can travel at speeds of roughly 28,000kph and higher.

"Once the avoidance maneuver was completed, the crew reopened hatches between the USA and Russian segments and resumed their regular activities", NASA confirmed.

This was acknowledged by Mr Bridenstine, who wrote in another tweet, "debris is getting worse!"

The Office of Space Commerce is a civilian organization that supporters want to take over the surveillance of space junk, a job now occupied by the military.

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