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International Space Station dodges debris from Russian anti-satellite test

On Monday night (October 24), a cargo ship connected to the station ran its engines for five minutes to move the ISS away from the danger.

The Russian anti-satellite test from November 2021 resulted in the destruction of a satellite piece, which the International Space Station (ISS) has narrowly avoided.

the 24th of October, at 8:25 p.m. According to a NASA statement, the ISS crew used the Russian cargo ship Progress 81's thrusters for a total of five minutes and five seconds to steer clear of the debris fragment on October 24 at 00:25 EDT (00:25 GMT) (opens in new tab).

According to agency representatives, this "Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver" (PDAM) was executed to "give the complex an extra measure of distance away from the expected track" of the debris fragment.

According to NASA, the maneuver increased the ISS's height by 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometer's) at perigee, which is when it is closest to Earth, and by 0.2 miles (0.32 kilometer's) at apogee, which is when it is farthest from Earth. The firing of the thrusters had no impact on regular space station activities.

On November 15, 2021, a Russian direct ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test resulted in the debris fragment that triggered the avoidance maneuver. A Soviet satellite known as Cosmos 1408 that had been out of service since the 1980s was destroyed by a missile that was launched from the ground.

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell said at the time, "There's really no reason they should have picked such a massive target." They could have been able to use a smaller target and produce less debris.

Since then, the test has been roundly denounced by space authorities and space policy experts worldwide, prompting personnel on board the ISS to seek safety.

The Russian ASAT test left behind debris, something the International Space Station has had to avoid before. The space station performed a similar maneuvers to steer clear of a Cosmos 1408 debris in June 2022.

Several countries have pledged not to conduct destructive ASAT tests in response to the Russian test on Cosmos 1408 in an effort to reduce the amount of space debris in orbit. These include the United States, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Republic of Korea, and Japan.

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