The ISS forced to swerve to avoid space junk

The movement of the International Space Station to avoid colliding with American debris: because of space junk, the ISS was forced to swerve

Space travel is never easy. There are a thousand obstacles: the absence of gravity, the distance from Earth, the lack of oxygen and diplomacy between states that have missions in space. Among these factors there is another that is very often ignored: space junk. And this is precisely the reason that has forced the International Space Station to change course.

What is space junk

Space debris is discarded launch vehicles or parts of vehicles, which floating and orbiting the Earth risk colliding with satellites or, as in this case, with the International Space Station.

Normally, their orbit is predictable, and astronauts from the ground or space are able to make movements that would make them safe.

On Tuesday, NASA had postponed a spacewalk that was meant to repair a faulty antenna on the ISS. It did so precisely because its mathematical systems predicted a possible collision between astronauts and debris.

There are also new technologies that aim to remove junk in space.

What happened to the International Space Station

In the past few hours, the ISS has been forced to swerve away from the remains of an American launch vehicle. The news was given by the Russian space agency Roscosmos, which already a few months ago had given another disturbing alarm.

The station's orbit lowered 310 meters for three minutes to avoid a close encounter with a fragment of a vehicle sent into space by the United States in 1994: as we know in fact objects in space can remain in Earth's orbit for centuries.

There should not have been any particular consequences or damage: the launch of the Russian Soyuz MS-20 rocket has been confirmed and it will take off on Wednesday to land on the International Space Station.

This is not the only recent event linked to space junk: last month an anti-satellite missile test carried out by Russia had generated a field of space junk in low Earth orbit, putting the International Space Station at risk. An act that will put future space missions at risk, for years to come.