Feeds

ISS spared space junk avoidance manoeuvre

All well pending Discovery's arrival

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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".

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.