Space Debris Making the ISS Vulnerable

Garbage surrounds our planet but not the conventional waste seen in landfills. Satellites have become commonplace for large-scale corporations trying to reach the masses. However, over time those satellites are broken down & destroyed by solar radiation. This has prompted an influx of space debris surrounding our planet, which puts risk to the International Space Station.

NASA announced that the International Space Station implemented an avoidance manoeuvre on September 22nd. The manoeuvre was unexpected, with Houston Mission Control conducting the avoidance measure at 2:19 in the afternoon. The RPRS (Russian Progress Resupply Spacecraft” used it’s rockets while docked to the International Space Station, allowing for the last-minute avoidance maneuver.

NASA issued an official statement regarding the matter. It was clarified that caution for the Expedition 63 Crew required the usage of their Soyuz Spacecraft, another shipped docked to the ISS for worst-case scenarios. The Expedition 63 Crew remained inside the Soyuz until space debris was avoided. NASA also confirmed that the avoidance manoeuvre was successful and that the ISS Astronauts have returned to their safe zone.

Clarification days later revealed that space debris wouldn’t have gotten concerningly close to the ISS until 3:21 Pm. This means that an hour was accounted for the avoidance maneuver, allowing for Houston Mission Control to perform this safety measure without concern accurately.

Tracked Debris

Avoidance manoeuvres are required once per year throughout the last decade. However, space debris is growing with the increase of satellites surrounding our planet. Small pieces of discarded rockets, it’s perspective paint, and demolished satellites have enabled the rise of space debris. The International Space Station can naturally defend itself from small amounts of space junk. However, more massive objects would cause a collision & depressurize the ISS. All Astronauts would die unless located in their Soyuz Spacecraft.

NASA has warned that space debris is growing & that continued launches of satellites will cause the International Space Station to become abandoned. Astronaut safety would always be in jeopardy. It should be noted there isn’t any official strategies to combat space debris, with the technology not available to NASA Engineers. Solving this problem will become one of the most prominent in the next century.