The International Space Station (ISS) was forced to undertake a swerve maneuver on Friday in order to avoid colliding with left-over debris from a decades-old US launch rocket, according to Dimitri Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
This is the latest in a series of near-catastrophic events involving the ISS that have occurred as a result of the spread of space junk.
Since Russia launched a successful anti-satellite missile test last month, there has been an uptick in requests for the monitoring and regulation of space debris. The Russian test resulted in a field of orbital debris, which authorities in the United States believe would pose a threat to space operations for many years.
Rogozin said on Friday that the International Space Station (ISS) was forced to swerve in order to escape space debris from a US rocket sent into orbit in 1994.
He went on to say that the swerve would have no effect on the launch of the Soyuz MS-20 rocket, which is slated to take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on December 8 and dock with the International Space Station.
Launch rockets and spacecraft fragments that have been abandoned in space and are in danger of colliding with satellites or the International Space Station (ISS) are referred to as space junk.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former NATO secretary-general, said in a commentary published on Thursday in the Financial Times that Russia’s destruction of the spacecraft last month might transform space into a garbage dump.
In addition, space junk prompted NASA to postpone a spacewalk scheduled for Tuesday to fix a damaged antenna on the International Space Station.
The International Space Station (ISS) also had to make a quick movement last month in order to dodge debris from an old Chinese spacecraft.
Roscosmos stated on Friday that it expects NASA Administrator Bill Nelson to visit Russia in the first half of 2022 to discuss the continuation of collaboration on the International Space Station (ISS) with Russian officials.