The International Space Station’s orbit was raised slightly earlier today as a precaution in avoiding a piece of space debris.
The maneuver occurred at 9:03 a.m. Central time and raised the overall orbit of the ISS by about 1.5 kilometers (1 statute mile) using both of the Zarya control module’s orbit adjust engines. The burn lasted 5 seconds and changed the overall station velocity by 1 meter per second.
Predictions Sunday by Space Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs, CO, showed that a spent Pegasus rocket body would pass within about 1.4 kilometers (.8 statute mile) of the station if a maneuver were not performed. The time of closest approach is forecast to occur about 3 a.m. Central on Wednesday. As a result of the burn, the closest distance of the debris to the station should be more than 25 kilometers (15 statute miles).
The ISS was maneuvered to the burn attitude using Zarya’s motion control system at 8:30 this morning Central time followed by the burn 33 minutes later. The station was then maneuvered back to its normal position with Unity pointed at the Earth in a slow spin to minimize propellant usage and provide even temperatures on the station’s components.
All systems aboard the station continue to operate in excellent fashion and no further activity related to debris avoidance is planned.
The next scheduled International Space Station status report will be Thursday (Oct. 28). For further information, please contact the NASA Public Affairs Office at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, 281-483-5111.