The International Space Station has again avoided a collision with space debris caused by a Russian mission in orbit.
Once again, the International Space Station (ISS) has had to perform maneuvers in orbit to avoid impact with debris from a Russian satellite.
The Progress MS-20 shuttle launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on June 3 to deliver supplies to the International Space Station . But while there, the spacecraft had to perform “an unscheduled maneuver,” according to a Telegram update from Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin.
ISS crew member Sergey Korsakov recorded a short video of Progress performing the maneuver, which Rogozin later shared on Telegram.
At 19:03 UTS, #ProgressMS20 performed an unplanned engine burn to avoid a space debris created by #Kosmos1408. Here’s a video by Roscosmos: https://t.co/WvH1SCPC9c pic.twitter.com/yHPymtzqgm
— Katya Pavlushchenko (@katlinegrey) June 16, 2022
Russia blaming itself?
Interestingly, Rogozin singles out the Kosmos-1408 spacecraft , a satellite launched and operated by the Soviet Union in the early 1980s, as the reason Progress had to fire its thrusters, a rare and direct acknowledgment that debris Russian space ships were to blame.
“I must mention that this is the first time that Roscosmos has confirmed that the debris is its fault,” space reporter Katya Pavlushchenko wrote. “Usually they say what satellite or rocket stage it was only if it was foreign. If it was Russian, they called it ‘space junk.'”
Like the US, Russia has been a major source of space debris for decades, but in particular the country’s highly controversial anti-satellite missile test last year, the reason Progress had to conduct the maneuver in First, it has renewed international calls to find ways to mitigate a growing space debris crisis.
At the time, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken criticized Russia for having “recklessly conducted a destructive test of a direct ascent anti-satellite missile against one of its own satellites “.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also called it an “inconceivable action” that could “jeopardize not only the American astronauts and international partners on the International Space Station, but also their own cosmonauts. Their actions are both reckless and dangerous”.
However, Russian officials claimed the missile “hit the waiting satellite with surgical precision” and said the fragments would not pose a threat to astronauts “because of the timing of the test,” according to a CBS News report at the time.