The International Space Station had to fire its thrusters for a little more than 5 minutes recently to avoid space debris from a satellite blown up by Russia in a November 2021 weapons test.
The move was made in the interests of caution; without it, the debris from the Russian Kosmos-1408 satellite “could have passed within about three miles from the station,” according to NASA.
The “predetermined debris avoidance maneuver,” or PDAM, by the space station’s Progress 81 thrusters was conducted at 8:25 p.m. EDT Monday, and operations on the space station were unaffected by the maneuver, NASA said.
The dodging action, which lasted 5 minutes and 5 seconds, saw the space station increase altitude by 0.2 miles at the point on its orbit farthest away from the Earth and 0.8 miles at its point closest to the Earth.
In June, Russian space agency Roscosmos had to perform a PDAM with their Progress MS-20 thrusters to avoid a different fragment of the Kosmos-1408 satellite. Progress MS-20 is the Russian designation for the Progress 81 thrusters.