The International Space Station performed a manoeuvre on Friday to temporarily swerve away from a fragment of a US launch vehicle, the head of Russia’s space agency said.
Dmitry Rogozin, who heads Roscosmos, said the station’s orbit dropped by 310m for less than three minutes to avoid a close encounter with a fragment from a US launch vehicle sent into space in 1994.
Rogozin added that the manoeuvre would not affect the planned launch of the Soyuz MS-20 rocket on 8 December from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and its docking at the ISS.
Space debris, or space junk, consists of discarded launch vehicles or parts of a spacecraft that float around in space and risk colliding with satellites or the International Space Station.
Space debris forced Nasa on Tuesday to postpone a spacewalk placed to replace a faulty antenna at the ISS.
US officials also said last month that an anti-satellite missile test carried out by Russia had generated a debris field in low-Earth orbit that endangered the ISS and would pose a hazard to space activities for years. — Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, (c) 2021 Reuters