The International Space Station (ISS) had to perform another maneuver last week to avoid space debris. The debris was created during a Russian test of an anti-satellite weapon. The weapon destroyed a Soviet-era Kosmos 1408 satellite in November, shattering it into more than 1,500 pieces.
According to NASA calculations, the debris was within 800 meters of the ISS. As a safety measure, the space agency made a correction, causing the space station to drift.
Debris poses a potential threat to the ISS. Small pieces of debris can damage the space station, and larger pieces can claim the lives of astronauts on board. This time, the crew was never in danger, reports NASA. All work was also allowed to continue.
The ISS performs these maneuvers regularly. In November and December, some adjustments were made due to space debris. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), there are over a million pieces of debris in space that can cause damage.
In July 2021, Russia launched a projectile to destroy the ancient satellite. Although officially a maintenance mission, the British and American governments have condemned the mission. For example, the head of Britain’s military space department warned of space debris. “This is potentially damaging to the space systems and satellites the world relies on,” he said.