A piece of space debris from a Russian anti-satellite weapons test forced the International Space Station to maneuver to avoid orbital debris on Thursday (June 16th).
The Russian space agency Roscosmos uses the unmanned cargo ship Progress 81, moored in International Space Station to move the orbital laboratory away from a piece of space debris from the Russian satellite Cosmos 1408, sharing video of the activity (opens in a new section) in the social media Telegram. Russia destroyed the non-existent Soviet-era satellite in Testing of an anti – satellite missile in November 2021.
“I confirm that at 22.03 Moscow time the engines of the Russian transport cargo ship” Progress MS-20 “performed an unplanned maneuver to avoid a dangerous approach to the International Space Station with a fragment of the spacecraft” Cosmos-1408 “, said the head of Roscosmos Dmitry. Rogozin wrote in the Telegram (opens in a new section)according to a Google translation, using the Roscosmos designation for Progress 81.
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At 19:03 UTS, # ProgressMS20 performed an unplanned engine burn to avoid space debris created by # Kosmos1408. Here is a video from Roscosmos: https://t.co/WvH1SCPC9c pic.twitter.com/yHPymtzqgmJune 16, 2022
IN Cargo ship Progress 81 launches its pushers in 4 minutes and 34 seconds to move the massive space station away from the trajectory of the Cosmos-1408 fragment and slightly increase the station’s orbit.
“The crew was never in danger and the maneuver did not affect the operation of the station,” NASA officials wrote in the update (opens in a new section). “Without the maneuver, it was predicted that the fragment could pass about half a mile from the station.”
Cosmos 1408 is a Soviet satellite Tselina-D, focused on electronic and signal intelligence, launched in 1982 from the Russian Plesetsk spaceport, according to NASA report (opens in a new section).
On November 15, 2021, the satellite (which was no longer operational) was deliberately destroyed by Russia in an anti-satellite missile test that created about 1,500 pieces of orbital debris. Astronauts on the space station were forced to take refuge in November. 15 due to concerns about these debris, which could pose a threat to the space station and other spacecraft for years to come, experts said.