File photo: The International Space Station Photograph:( AFP )
The space debris originated from an anti-satellite weapons test that ended up destroying the Soviet-era Cosmos 1408 satellite in November 2021. A rough estimate states that there were around 1500 pieces of debris from the incident.
The International Space Station had a close shave on Thursday as it narrowly avoided crashing into a piece of space junk from a Russian anti-satellite weapons test. NASA confirmed that the ISS had to quickly maneuver in order to avoid the orbital debris. The space debris originated from an anti-satellite weapons test that ended up destroying the Soviet-era Cosmos 1408 satellite in November 2021. A rough estimate states that there were around 1500 pieces of debris from the incident.
"The crew was never in any danger and the maneuver had no impact on station operations," read a statement released by NASA about the avoidance maneuver. "Without the maneuver, it was predicted that the fragment could have passed within around a half-mile from the station."
This was not the first time that the ISS had to perform such avoidance maneuvers in the recent past as they had to avoid space debris in November and December of 2021. Any collision with space debris can result in massive damage to the system and also the astronauts inside the ISS.
Russian space agency Roscosmos posted a video on Telegram of the entire process as they used an uncrewed Progress 81 cargo ship to move the orbiting lab away from the path of the debris.
"I confirm that at 22.03 Moscow time, the engines of the Russian Progress MS-20 transport cargo ship carried out an unscheduled maneuver to avoid a dangerous approach of the International Space Station with a fragment of the Kosmos-1408 spacecraft," Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said.