International Space Station fires thrusters to dodge space junk

The flying lab had performed a similar move twice in the previous week.

On Tuesday, a debris avoidance move was necessary for the International Space Station (ISS) to escape yet another fragment of space debris. (March 14).

In a statement on Telegram, Russia's government space agency Roscosmos stated that the event happened at 2:54 p.m. Moscow time, or 7:54 a.m. EDT (1154 GMT), on Tuesday. Currently docked at the orbital laboratory, the Russian Progress MS-22 cargo spacecraft ignited its engines for 135 seconds to transfer the station to safety and raise its average height to 260 miles (419 km) above the surface of the planet.

This event is the second time in a month that a similar move has been required of the International Space Station. A potential collision with a private Earth-imaging satellite was avoided on March 6 when the same Progress ship ignited its engines for six minutes. A NASA report from 2022 claims that from 1999 to the time of the report's release, the ISS had to make 32 identical moves to avoid satellites and trackable debris.

The Russian anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons test, which was performed in November 2021 and denounced by the international community, resulted in debris that the International Space Station (ISS) had to escape in two distinct avoidance maneuvers in 2022.

Similar events have caused spacewalks to be postponed and compelled pilots to seek refuge on the ISS. With more people around the globe participating in space flight, these events are happening more frequently. A group of NASA scientists and other experts are now urging an international compact to address the risky orbital debris issue as low Earth orbit becomes more and more congested with satellites and other space garbage. As more and more things are lofted into orbit, a workable answer has as of yet to be discovered.

Additionally, as more space debris clogs Earth's trajectory, the likelihood of collisions between bits of debris rises, which would lead to the creation of even more debris.

The ISS will continue to be used by NASA until 2030, at which time it will be deorbited and burn to death over an expanse of open water. The organization has already begun to prepare for its retirement by preparing the creation of spacecraft.