Russia again threatened the ISS: the station had to dodge the debris of a Russian rocket
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Part of the old Russian Fregat upper stage almost damaged the space station.
On Wednesday, December 21, American astronauts Frank Rubio and Josh Kassada were supposed to go into outer space, but another incident on the ISS prevented this. The orbital station was in danger of being hit by Russian space debris, so an evasive maneuver had to be carried out, writes Space.
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NASA at the very last moment postponed the spacewalk of two of its astronauts due to the fact that a large piece of Russian space debris approached the ISS at a dangerous distance. It was part of the old Fregat upper stage (diameter 3.4 m) used on Soyuz and Zenit launch vehicles.
This piece of space debris approached the station at a distance of less than 400 meters, which is a direct threat to the ISS. Therefore, the exit of two NASA astronauts into space was canceled. Instead, the ISS had to perform an emergency evasive maneuver to avoid colliding with Russian debris. To do this, ironically, they used the engines of the Russian Progress cargo spacecraft, which is docked with the orbital station.
NASA initially decided to postpone the astronauts' exit from the station for several days, but then, after assessing the situation, it was decided decision that Rubio and Cassada will go into space on Thursday, December 22.
“We have been monitoring this fragment of the Russian upper stage for several days. Initially, our data indicated a low probability of a threat to the station. But then we found out that we were dealing with the highest level of threat to the ISS, so the station had to take an evasive maneuver in order not to collide with space debris. At the moment, the station crew is not in danger and the ISS continues to operate normally,” says Dan Haot, NASA spokesman.
For the second time in a week, the space station “survives” dangerous incidents. As Focus already wrote, last week there was an accident with the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, which is docked with the ISS. As a result of the accident, which could have been caused by a meteorite, a coolant leak occurred. Focus already wrote that information appeared that the temperature on board the ship had risen significantly, which could disable its instruments.
Now the investigation of the incident is still ongoing, and experts should find out if this ship will be able to deliver astronauts from the ISS back to Earth in the spring. Focus already wrote that a new analysis of the situation showed that a hole had formed in the Soyuz spacecraft, and this really jeopardizes its future mission to Earth.
If this the spacecraft is declared unfit for further operation, this will be the first such case in history. Therefore, another spacecraft may have to be sent from Earth, which will take the astronauts from the ISS.