The International Space Station swerved to avoid colliding with shrapnel from a Russian anti-satellite missile test
- Debris from a Russian anti-satellite
weapons testthreatened to collide with the International Space Station.
- The November 2021 test destroyed the Soviet-era Cosmos 1408 satellite, sending debris through space.
In November 2021,
"The crew was never in any danger and the maneuver had no impact on station operations," read a statement released by NASA about the avoidance maneuver. "Without the maneuver, it was predicted that the fragment could have passed within around a half-mile from the station."
The ISS conducts such avoidance maneuvers to swerve around space debris on a fairly regular basis, including incidents in November and December of last year. While collisions with debris the size of a baseball could kill astronauts on board, collisions with smaller debris have also caused damage to the station.
Last year an unknown piece of debris struck the robotic arm of the space station, puncturing a hole through it. In 2016, a small piece of space junk roughly the size of an eyelash caused a chip in the glass dome of the station.
The European Space Agency estimates there are more than a million pieces of potentially damaging debris in orbit.
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