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back to article ISS spared space junk avoidance manoeuvre

Crew aboard the International Space Station were yesterday told they would not have to perform a "debris avoidance maneuver"* after NASA deemed a 10-centimetre piece of the destroyed Russian Cosmos 1275 satellite posed no threat to the orbiting outpost. Mike Fincke, Yury Lonchakov and Sandy Magnus last week took refuge for 11 …

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Gold badge

That Bootnote.

"This involves using the docked Soyuz's engines to lower the ISS's altitude...."

I think that "adjust" rather than "lower" is more likely to be correct here. If they were to always lower its altitude then eventually it would encounter atmospheric drag, get very hot and subsequently make a large and unexpected hole somewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

@TeeCee

Until say a space shuttle or European service truck arrives and boosts it back up again....

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Boffin

due to drag or collision?

According to Gene Stansbery, NASA's orbital debris programme manager, pieces of wreckage from the pile-up have "progressively lost altitude due to the drag of Earth's atmosphere, so that they now come within the space station's altitude".

I suspect that this is incorrect.. the main cause for lower orbit debris is the change of velocity (slowing) due to the collission itself, the satalites would not have decayed so quickly due to drag alone.. they were long duration sats in a higher orbit than the ISS they used to self boost but only very occasionally.. After the collision bits went everywhere some faster and went up some slower and came down... some remained at speed on orbit.

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Bronze badge
Boffin

@TeeCee

'Lower' is correct. The station first rotates so that the engines of the Soyuz are pointing in the direction of travel, then the engines are fired for a short period in order to induce a negative acceleration of approximately 1m/s, which in turn causes the orbit of the station to decay slightly (a.k.a. a 'lower' orbit) in order to avoid objects in or close to the current orbit.

After the danger has passed, the direction of the Soyuz is reversed so the engines are pointing back along the path travelled, and a longer burst accelerates the station again, thus restoring the original orbit of the station.

This was last performed in August 2008, ironically also to avoid orbiting satellite debris.

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Dib dib dib

When are we going to start seeing groups of orbiting boy scout volunteers floating about and picking up the rubbish?

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Bronze badge

Soyuz's engines???

Aha! - you've solved the problem of the plural for "Soyuz" - for which many thanks.

<<"when the station lowered its altitude to avoid a piece of debris that was set to pass some 1.6 km away from it">>

My problem is, if the Soyuz was glued on (with duck tape, natch) the wrong side - what then? Quick trip to Mars??

How the hell can they find a bit of space junk 200+Km up which is half the size of "the end of my old cigar" == 4 inches, when I can't even find my fuc*king glasses on the sofa???

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Hmm.

'discarded mechanism used in boosting a satellite into higher orbit" whizzed past at "nearly 5.5 miles per second (20,000mph)" '

Is that 20,000mph its orbital velocity, or its velocity relative to the ISS? It makes a difference.

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Paris Hilton

@Andus McCoatover

In: "Soyuz's engines", "Soyuz's" is the possessive singular, "engines" is the plural word"... meaning multiple engines belonging to the single Soyuz module.

I believe (no research etc; I am not a teacher of Russian , nor any kind of expert in the field) that the plural of Soyuz would be: "fleet of Soyuz modules"

Where's the muppet icon? Oh wait, I found it.

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