The International Space Station had to make an evasive maneuver to avoid a chunk of space debris.

In short: The International Space Station (ISS) recently collided with a piece of space debris that could have been catastrophic if no action had been taken. The considered orbital debris, part of the inoperative meteorological satellite Fengyun-1C, remained after the tests of a Chinese anti-satellite missile back in 2007. The rocket hit the satellite at about 18,000 miles per hour, creating a spacecraft. thousands of orbital debris.

To avoid a possible collision with one of the debris, a Russian supply spacecraft docked with the ISS on November 11 fired its rockets within just over six minutes. changed the speed of the ISS, raising its orbit by 1.2 km (0.75 miles) and placing it in a safe place.

The ISS orbits the Earth at just over 17,100 miles per hour. At this speed, even a tiny piece of space debris can cause serious damage.

As of May of this year, the Department of Defense’s Global Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensors have been tracking more than 27,000 pieces of space debris more than a softball ball. What’s more, there are at least half a million additional debris the size of marble or larger.

Since 1999, the ISS has conducted 29 debris avoidance maneuvers, three of which occurred in 2020.

The space debris problem is likely to get much worse before it gets better. Companies such as Starlink, Amazon and Boeing deploy thousands of small satellites in low Earth orbit to provide Internet connectivity to underserved areas of the globe.

Credit to masthead Pixabay

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