The International Space Station had to change its orbit to avoid Russian space junk

In 2021, Russia blew up the defunct Kosmos 1408 satellite into orbit in A widely condemned missile test. On Monday night, the International Space Station conducted an avoidance maneuver to get away from space junk left by the test.

“This evening, the International Space Station’s Progress 81 thrusters were launched for five minutes and five seconds in a predetermined maneuver to avoid debris to provide the complex with additional distance away from the expected trajectory of a portion of Russian Cosmos 1408 debris,” NASA said in a statement. Progress 81 is a Russian cargo ship docked at the International Space Station. The spacecraft’s thrusters can be used to move the station into orbit.

Without the maneuver, the piece of debris would have been expected to pass 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the station, which was too close for comfort. The thrusters moved the International Space Station into orbit at a higher altitude.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson called the missile test “irresponsible.” The crew of the International Space Station was Forced to take emergency shelter Soon after the test was conducted in 2021. Earlier in 2022, the European Space Agency for Earth observation The Sentinel-1A satellite survived with difficulty Collision with the wreckage of Cosmos 1408.

Space junk is a problem that is getting worse. The field of debris ranges from inoperable full-size satellites to small bits of garbage. Even small pieces can damage satellites, spacecraft, and space stations. Space agencies are constantly tracking debris so that corrections can be made to keep space assets safe.

NASA said Monday’s maneuver did not affect the activities of the International Space Station.

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