Feeds

ISS spared space junk avoidance manoeuvre

All well pending Discovery's arrival

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Crew aboard the International Space Station were yesterday told they would not have to perform a "debris avoidance maneuver"* after NASA deemed a 10-centimetre piece of the destroyed Russian Cosmos 1275 satellite posed no threat to the orbiting outpost.

Mike Fincke, Yury Lonchakov and Sandy Magnus last week took refuge for 11 minutes in the station's "lifeboat" Soyuz capsule when a "discarded mechanism used in boosting a satellite into higher orbit" whizzed past at "nearly 5.5 miles per second (20,000mph)".

The latest close-ish encounter with space junk is the result of the collision back in February between the Cosmos and an Iridium telecoms satellite. According to Gene Stansbery, NASA's orbital debris programme manager, pieces of wreckage from the pile-up have "progressively lost altitude due to the drag of Earth's atmosphere, so that they now come within the space station's altitude".

Discovery's robotic arm deployed. Pic NASAOn Discovery, meanwhile, the crew's first full day in space "focused on an up close inspection of its wing leading edge panels using the robotic arm and Orbiter Boom Sensor System extension" (see pic). The STS-119 mission team is preparing to dock with the ISS later today with its cargo of the final solar panel arrays for the station.

NASA's STS-119 overview is here, there's more detailed info on the mission here (pdf), while ISS updates are available here. ®

Bootnote

*This involves using the docked Soyuz's engines to lower the ISS's altitude. According to New Scientist, this has occured eight times in the past, the last time in August 2008 "when the station lowered its altitude to avoid a piece of debris that was set to pass some 1.6 km away from it".

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial
And NASA kept evidence to itself for over a month
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years
ETs, habitable planets will soon pop up with our new 'scopes
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.