It’s starting to become a really bad habit. On Thursday, June 16, theISS had to be maneuvered in order to avoid debris from an anti-satellite test carried out by Russia in November 2021. The Roscosmosthe Russian space agency, ordered the firing of the thrusters of the cargo spacecraft Progress 81 so as to place the ISS out of the trajectory of the piece of satellite.
Image from the movie Gravity
The procedure only lasted a few minutes, but it was enough to avoid any risk of collision. Without this maneuver, the risks were in any case quite low since the trajectory calculations had determined that the debris would pass about 300 meters from the station. NASA has also confirmed that the occupants of the ISS had never really been in danger.
The debris in question is that of the Russian satellite Cosmos 1408, which had been targeted on November 15, 2021 during a Russian anti-satellite test. The test had generated hundreds of debris, forcing ISS astronauts to take refuge in one of the modules docked at the station. Simulations of the trajectory of this cloud of debris have since shown that the ISS will have to maneuver in order to avoid any collision for several more years.