NASA: for Soviet space junk ISS forced to change orbit


Sputnik Italy

During its use, the ISS has conducted 25 maneuvers (in addition to the most recent) to avoid potentially dangerous collisions with space junk in the Earth’s orbit.

The International Space Station (ISS) raised its orbit 900 meters to evade a fragment of a Proton-K rocket booster (western designation SL-12) used to send Soviet-era equipment to space in September 1987, he said NASA. The maneuver was performed using the thrusters of the Russian Progress MS-14 spacecraft, which had anchored to the ISS on April 25 this year.

Proton-K rockets were used in two successful spacecraft launches, September 3 and 16, 1987, but it is unclear what missile debris the ISS escaped on July 3. One of the launches put GLONASS satellites into orbit (Soviet analogue of GPS), while the other spacecraft carried a Soviet television satellite.

The maneuver of June 3 was the 26th to change the orbit in the history of the ISS. The ISS must periodically change its position to prevent debris from previous launches from damaging the hull of the station. The previous maneuver took place in September 2015.

This measure is taken quite often for the rotation of the ISS within the so-called lower Earth orbit, which is littered with space junk compared to the higher levels. If the threat of debris is detected too late for a safe evasive maneuver, ISS personnel are evacuated to a spacecraft in order to be ready to leave the station if the ISS is severely damaged. These evacuations occurred on at least four occasions between 2009 and 2015.

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