4 November 2014
The International Space Station was threatened by space debris last week but ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle saved the day by firing its thrusters to push the orbital outpost and its six occupants out of harm’s way.
This is the first time the Station’s international partners have avoided space debris with such urgency.
Ground stations continuously track space junk – leftover hardware from defunct satellites – for potentially life-threatening collisions. A fleck of paint can cause major damage travelling at 28 800 km/h. When they raise the alarm, ground teams can move the Station to a safer orbit.
The calculations sometimes take hours – this is rocket science – but fortunately, most of the time, the radar network gives ample warning. Sometimes a dangerous object can slip through the net or its erratic behaviour makes accurate predictions difficult. CLICK LINK BELOW TO READ ON: