ISS Performs Debris Avoidance Maneuver

Check Your Keps: ISS Performs Debris Avoidance Maneuver

UniverseToday reports that the ISS needed to perform a maneuver on Friday, January 13 to avoid debris from the 2009 collision between an inactive Russian Cosmos 2251 satellite and a commercial Iridium satellite.

ISS After Undocking STS134U.S. Space Command recommended the space station perform a debris avoidance maneuver on Friday, January 13, 2012 to move out of harms’ way and dodge a possible collision with the piece of space junk, said to be about 10 centimeters in diameter. The thrusters on the Zvezda service module fired at 1610 UTC on Friday to raise the orbit of the ISS.

Without the maneuver, the object would have made two close approaches to the station on consecutive orbits on Friday, passing within the “pizza box” shaped region around the station, measuring 0.75 kilometers above and below the station and 25 kilometers on each side (2,460 feet above and below and 15.6 by 15.6 miles).

A higher orbit for the ISS means that AOS will occur at a slightly later time than those predicted in existing Keplerian Elements. Users are encourage to update their tracking elements to maintain tracking accuracy.

[PE0SAT thanks for the above information]