The Worldwide House Station (ISS) was compelled to make a maneuver to keep away from a possible collision earlier this week.
The ISS is often compelled to take such motion to keep away from potential harm, however on this event, slightly than dodging house particles, the power steered away from a functioning satellite tv for pc.
The incident highlights the difficulty of rising congestion in near-Earth orbit amid an uptick in satellite tv for pc deployments in recent times.
In response to a message posted by NASA, the docked Progress 83 cargo ship fired its engines for simply over 5 minutes on Monday to maneuver the station to a barely larger orbit, taking it additional away from an approaching Earth-imaging satellite tv for pc reportedly belonging to North Carolina-based Satellogic.
About 20 minutes earlier than Progress fired its thrusters to lift the station’s orbit, controllers have been capable of verify that the satellite tv for pc would move at a distance of about 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) even with out the altitude change. Regardless of the secure distance, the choice was taken to proceed with the maneuver as Progress’s thrusters have been already enabled, a spokesperson advised SpaceNews.
The house website famous that the orbit of the Satellogic satellite tv for pc, together with 9 others that have been launched on the identical time in 2020, has been decaying, a state of affairs which means the ISS and different functioning satellites in an identical orbit could should carry out further avoidance maneuvers sooner or later because the satellites cross their path.
NASA and its counterparts are consistently monitoring the orbits of satellites and enormous items of house particles near Earth, so orbital changes aren’t unusual.
Whereas most ISS orbital changes are deliberate in good time, emergency incidents often happen. One notably critical episode came about in 2021 when crewmembers needed to transfer to their docked spaceships in case of a critical strike by a cloud of junk that would have compelled their evacuation from the ISS. Within the occasion, the station averted any harm and the crewmembers may return safely to the power to proceed their work.
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