Launched back in 1998, the International Space Station (ISS) has faced relatively little danger during its tenure in Earth’s orbit. However, heavy space debris recently came so close to the station astronauts underwent emergency procedures.
NASA released an official statement about the incident yesterday detailing the event. On Monday in Moscow Standard Time, the ISS Flight Control team received notifications a satellite broke up. The breakup created debris big enough to threaten the station. As such, the crew awakened and closed the radial module hatches in the station. Additionally, the crew took shelter after two passes near the debris cloud. Taking cover in their spacecraft for two hours, they were there from 2 a.m. EST until 4 a.m.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson prepared the official statement and is not happy about the incident. Apparently, a Russian Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test resulted in the satellite breakup and the resulting debris. “Like Secretary Blinken, I’m outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action,” Nelson began.
“With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts,” Nelson continued. “Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board. All nations have a responsibility to prevent the purposeful creation of space debris from ASATs and to foster a safe, sustainable space environment.”
The ISS continues to pass through or near the debris cloud every 90 minutes or so. Nonetheless, they were only required to take cover after the second and third passes. After calculating future risks, NASA debris and ballistics specialists don’t foresee imminent danger to crew members.
SpaceX Successfully Launches First All-Civilian Crew to International Space Station
The International Space Station has been making headlines frequently as of late. A mere two months ago, SpaceX launched the first all-civilian crew to the ISS with a full itinerary.
The Inspiration4 launch commenced on September 15 and the all-civilian crew remained aboard for three days before returning to Earth. Jard Issacman, Hayley Arceneau, Sian Proctor, and Christ Semrboski comprised the crew. The Inspiration4 Twitter account kept up-to-date with everything that happened.
While on the ISS, the crew had every hour of their visit meticulously planned. They were able to speak with their family using NASA’s TDR5 communications systems but also conducted health experiments. Arceneaux serves as a physician assistant at St. Jude and was even able to work with patients while in space.
After their three days were up, the Inspiration4 crew splashed down near Florida in the Atlantic Ocean. Noting its success, Elon Musk said as time progresses, trips for civilians will become more commonplace.