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ISS Dodges Space Junk For First Time In Five Years

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the missed-me-nyah-nyah dept.

Space 141

Kligat writes "For the first time since 2003, the International Space Station has utilized the rockets on the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle to dodge leftover remnants of a defunct satellite. The Russian Cosmos-2421 was launched in June 2006 to track Western Navy vessels and is believed by NASA to have exploded — 'likely due to a self-destruct command issued by Russian officials' according to the article — leaving 500 pieces of space debris. Ordinarily, the rockets on the ATV are used to take the ISS away from Earth's atmosphere and reduce drag. In this case, the 5-minute firing caused the ISS to move downward because it was already near the top of its acceptable range. Estimated probability of impact was 1 in 72, and an avoidance maneuver is called for if the probability is greater than 1 in 10,000. The space junk was predicted to pass the ISS within just a mile."

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In SOVIET RUSSIA.. (5, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | about 6 years ago | (#24835719)

You watch out for spy satellites!

Re:In SOVIET RUSSIA.. (1)

moniker127 (1290002) | about 6 years ago | (#24835923)

lol

Re:In SOVIET RUSSIA.. (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 6 years ago | (#24835927)

Actually, this really sucks because the rockets were used to LOWER the ISS. What a waste. I wonder how much warning they get before estimated impact.

Re:In SOVIET RUSSIA.. (2, Insightful)

aonic (878715) | about 6 years ago | (#24836609)

while it seems like a waste cause the rocket fuel was used to cancel out a previous boost maneuver, keep in mind that the ISS needs to be within a certain altitude band to be reachable by the soyuz/shuttle. also, the humans on board necessitate resupply missions more often than boost manuevers are required anyway.

Re:In SOVIET RUSSIA.. (5, Interesting)

ctetc007 (875050) | about 6 years ago | (#24836907)

Actually, this really sucks because the rockets were used to LOWER the ISS. What a waste. I wonder how much warning they get before estimated impact.

Actually, they were planning to lower the ISS for the next few missions anyway so that the shuttle would be able to bring up more cargo than usual. This maneuver wasn't so much a waste as it would seem to be.

Re:In SOVIET RUSSIA.. (1)

davolfman (1245316) | about 6 years ago | (#24836809)

Someone call debris section!

Just like a supermarket (2, Funny)

Thunder Rabbit (923334) | about 6 years ago | (#24837537)

[intercom:] "(sszzkk) uh, we need a cleanup on mile 183... that's a satellite cleanup on mile 183."

In America... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24837959)

> In SOVIET RUSSIA..
> You watch out for spy satellites!

In America, spy satelites watch out for you!

Re:In SOVIET RUSSIA.. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24839081)

In Soviet Russia... Spy Satellites watch out for YOU!!

Can't we just span a huge net (0)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 6 years ago | (#24835727)

in space so we could catch all the space junk? We just need to be careful that we don't catch any space stations by accident...

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (3, Funny)

The Ancients (626689) | about 6 years ago | (#24835825)

in space so we could catch all the space junk? We just need to be careful that we don't catch any space stations by accident...

Considering who would be putting the net out there, what do you think the chances of accidently catching a space station (or satellite) are, hmm?

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 6 years ago | (#24835855)

Would have to be a pretty tight net... small particles moving fast enough can rip a dangerous hole in spacecraft.

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (0)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | about 6 years ago | (#24837397)

Which is why you'd magnetize it. Most of the debris up there is at least partially metallic.

Heck, just toss a flat sheet of metal with a couple retro-rockets up there, let it fly around for an orbit or two collecting debris, then bring it down. Repeat a couple of times and there goes a lot of the small debris.

The problem isn't coming up with ways to get rid of space junk, it's coming up with cheap and efficient ways and getting them implemented.

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1)

Everyone Is Seth (1202862) | about 6 years ago | (#24837569)

How big is your piece of sheet metal? Think about how small both the object you are trying to capture, and the tool you are using to do it with, compares to the amount of space you have to trawl through. Good luck on getting much of anything.

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1)

ufoolme (1111815) | about 6 years ago | (#24839567)

I don't know much physics but isn't the speed problem just a frame of reference problem?

Thats why it'd be easier just going with the flow and coming about from behind.

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 6 years ago | (#24840485)

Not all the junk is orbiting at the same inclination you know...

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24835867)

Depending on how high of an orbit you are in and how fast the debris is traveling, your net had better be pretty strong to withstand stuff going between 720 and 36,000 KPH.

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1)

HeadlessNotAHorseman (823040) | about 6 years ago | (#24838785)

Why not have two giant sheet magnets joined in a V shape, travelling point first? Debris will hit the metal at an angle and either bounce or slide along until friction slows it to the point where magnetism is stronger.

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (4, Funny)

bigplrbear (1179259) | about 6 years ago | (#24835911)

what about Mega Maid? she could vacuum up all of the space junk

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (2, Funny)

PsychoElf (571371) | about 6 years ago | (#24836373)

Only if you know the secret code.....

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1, Funny)

e2d2 (115622) | about 6 years ago | (#24836375)

SUCK.. SUCK.. SUCK..!

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1)

Zymergy (803632) | about 6 years ago | (#24837619)

Ordinarily that might work, but as I recall: "She's gone from Suck to Blow!"

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1)

go_jesse (243193) | about 6 years ago | (#24838193)

heh, I read what about Mega Raid? I couldn't figure out why you would use hard drives to collect space junk. I should wear my glasses and not drink beer when reading Slashdot.

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24839551)

It isn't worth the risk if she goes from suck to blow.

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | about 6 years ago | (#24836043)

in space so we could catch all the space junk? We just need to be careful that we don't catch any space stations by accident...

Think how fast that junk is traveling.

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#24836619)

So move the net at that speed - 2 km/h, big deal? ;D

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 6 years ago | (#24836369)

Not a net, but there will definetly a time when a janitor mission will be necessary.

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 6 years ago | (#24838929)

...and the thousands of satellites in orbit.

Re:Can't we just span a huge net (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 6 years ago | (#24840317)

We can worry about that when it's too late.

Eddy current Deflection Loop (1)

Traf-O-Data-Hater (858971) | about 6 years ago | (#24839433)

Here's an idea I had some time back, don't know it it would work but here goes. Why not fly a big lightweight coil - say 1 or 2km diameter - with a current running through it. Angle the coil at a few degrees from vertical, and make it moveable. It could be manouevered so piece of space junk moving at very high velocity goes through the middle. Minute eddy currents generated in the object would slow it down or deflect it downwards, eventually losing orbit. The ring would have ion thrusters to counteract the upwards force. After a few decades of operation it might clear up LEO.... perhaps?

Russia just can't tell the truth. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | about 6 years ago | (#24835739)

Pure case of state-controled media going on in Russia. They're not willing to admit they had a spy satellite in the first place, so they're not able to explain where the debris came from. That turns out to be something NASA is more than willing to do for the American side.

Re:Russia just can't tell the truth. (5, Funny)

Kligat (1244968) | about 6 years ago | (#24835791)

Russian news avoids [en.rian.ru] mentioning the Russian satellite and just refers to the ISS dodging a "cluster of garbage."

Re: "garbage" (5, Funny)

neonsignal (890658) | about 6 years ago | (#24837283)

maybe they were just quoting the engineers who had built the satellite...

Re: "garbage" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24838299)

..."informative"?

Re: "garbage" (1)

Hucko (998827) | about 6 years ago | (#24838799)

Its correct because the mods had no idea.

Re:Russia just can't tell the truth. (4, Interesting)

icegreentea (974342) | about 6 years ago | (#24835823)

NASA doesn't have any spy satellites. The Defense Department does. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few fields of debris from US spy satellites that haven't been announced or anything. Such information is somewhat sensitive, and official denial may be important. Could be anything from 'protect the existence the other spy satellites in its family' to 'let's save face'. To be fair, I could totally see your DoD doing something similar.

Re:Russia just can't tell the truth. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24836221)

NASA doesn't have any spy satellites.

I just mentioned that to my Martian friend, and he said "Gzornak frokka wa Hubble, flrckin earthling!"

Re:Russia just can't tell the truth. (4, Interesting)

digitalchinky (650880) | about 6 years ago | (#24838445)

The problem with this theory is that there are about 100,000 geeks in the world that love nothing more than to tag every single man made object in space. They even have programs to show every bit in real time graphically orbiting the planet. Many of these are free for download.

You can't put or have anything in space bigger than a small stone and not have some government or organization find and tag it, only to release that data to the general public at some point not very long after that. Lots of RADAR being pumped out in to space just for this very purpose.

If the ISS was moving because of anything other than debris from a Russian spy sat, then the slashdot headline here would spell it out. Even the military make use of the work from these guys, it can sometimes actually be more up to date.

Me: Ex 3 letter agency drone that worked in the satellite area for a while.

Re:Russia just can't tell the truth. (2, Informative)

Dr La (1342733) | about 6 years ago | (#24838961)

"That turns out to be something NASA is more than willing to do for the American side."

You wish. There are over 140 US objects tracked by us amateur satellite trackers which are classified - i.e. they officially do not exist and the only public data on their orbits comes from us amateur trackers. Not NASA, the DoD or any other US government agency.

A mile? (3, Interesting)

XanC (644172) | about 6 years ago | (#24835773)

Aren't orbital trajectories pretty well known? How is there a 1 in 72 chance that the thing will make a sudden mile-long jog and hit the station?

Re:A mile? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | about 6 years ago | (#24835817)

Hmm, good question. I suppose only SchrÃdinger's Cat knows for sure. :-/

Re:A mile? (0, Offtopic)

Jugalator (259273) | about 6 years ago | (#24835831)

In other news, Slashdot has among the worst international character support I'm aware of. Come on, you've had years to fix this aspect of Slash? Why not fix that before doing all those fancy-schmancy-Ajax:y things? This isn't even Unicode, it's part of a pretty standard Western alphabet. Bah.

Re:A mile? (1, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#24835985)

slashdot removed html entity support to prevent bidi text hacks. It's still incredibly lame, though.

Re:A mile? (4, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | about 6 years ago | (#24836039)

An HTML entity shouldn't be required. It's 2008; we should be able to stick Unicode into these boxes.

Re:A mile? (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | about 6 years ago | (#24836003)

It frequently drives me crazy that I still can't just type in a euro symbol into slashdot submission boxes. The currency is a decade old next year, and will have been in people's pockets for 8 years!

Re:A mile? (1)

alecwood (1235578) | about 6 years ago | (#24839299)

Duh! - this is an American internet and the only real currency is the dollar

Re:A mile? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24836031)

Haven't you done enough to that poor cat.

Cats are people too.. only with paws and fur and they taste good in chinese food.

Re:A mile? (2, Informative)

Kligat (1244968) | about 6 years ago | (#24835847)

Re:A mile? (2, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about 6 years ago | (#24836077)

According to that list [nasa.gov] , there are 12 objects with a probability >1/10,000, and 2 with a probability > 1/1000.

Note that the uncertainty on these orbits is frequently many 1000's of km; the orbits of things in LEO are much better determined.

Re:A mile? (4, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 6 years ago | (#24836091)

Because when dealing with the vastness of space a mile is pretty damn close.

Re:A mile? (4, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 6 years ago | (#24836151)

The orbital trajectory of every piece of debris from a spy satellite that was intentionally blown up isn't so well known, especially when the nation controlling the satellite wants it to be a secret.

Re:A mile? (0, Offtopic)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 6 years ago | (#24836461)

That is why we have radar. It seems like it would not be too difficult to install a radar (if one is not installed already) and have an onboard computer continually track objects, calculate orbital trajectories, and alert the crew and ground control if any piece of junk large enough to be tracked (above a configurable threshold) will intercept the imaginary sphere which contains the ISS.

Re:A mile? (4, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | about 6 years ago | (#24837197)

While that's a valid point for some situations, radar systems tend to have problems tracking objects below a certain size. A marble moving at 36,000 miles an hour isn't likely to be picked up by any radar array that I've ever seen.

The other problem is that they suck up a lot of juice. An active radar dish blaring away 24/7 would be a significant drain on the electrical power available to the ISS. I can't say it's not possible since I don't know how much their solar arrays can generate, but I'm willing to wager that it'd be a problem.

Re:A mile? (1)

cmacb (547347) | about 6 years ago | (#24838209)

Add to what you said that if the debris is traveling at a high speed WRT the ISS, even if it could be detected by radar there wouldn't be a whole lot of time to do anything about it.

Re:A mile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24838939)

Just blast the debris out of the sky with turbo lasers.

Re:A mile? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 6 years ago | (#24840667)

It seems like it would not be too difficult to install a radar (if one is not installed already) and have an onboard computer continually track objects, calculate orbital trajectories, and alert the crew and ground control if any piece of junk large enough to be tracked (above a configurable threshold) will intercept the imaginary sphere which contains the ISS.

Leaving aside the resolution and power consumptions issues that other respondents discuss, look at the ranges involved. According to Wikipedia, the ISS travels at 27700 km/hr or 462 km/minute. So, to allow for (say) a couple of minutes of engine firing (to actually accelerate the ISS into a different orbit) plus a few seconds of "prepare for acceleration" alarms and a few more seconds for identification and analysis, you're looking at needing a radar with over a thousand kilometre range.
Also, you need to be looking both "ahead" and "cross-range" Probably need to look behind too.

Re:A mile? (1)

UncleChevitz (1337633) | about 6 years ago | (#24836179)

The satellite is exploded, maybe they don't know how far out the little pieces go.

Re:A mile? (5, Informative)

DirtySouthAfrican (984664) | about 6 years ago | (#24836303)

At the risk of being redundant, it's roughly a 1 in 72 chance that their calculations of a "miss" are off. Calculations of this sort involve a margin of error, from not precisely knowing locations of these objects to not being able to do forecasting accurately enough. Debris A gets hit by debris B (which somehow evaded your radar), sending off two new chunks of metal which weren't even IN your original calculations. I'm actually impressed that they can put solid numbers on these things, but I guess that's what supercomputers are for.

Yay for safety margins.

Yes and No (1)

DougF (1117261) | about 6 years ago | (#24837065)

Orbits constantly change depending on the size of the object interacting with the far upper reaches of the atmosphere, hitting other space junk, deteriorating from radical oxygen and radiation, etc. The U.S. is constantly updating the 13,000 or so objects being tracked, and that's only the stuff 4 inches or larger diameter.

Re:A mile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24838569)

How good is the space junk mapping radar?
I don't know if it can detect small (think .22 bullet) sized bits of junk but I AM sure those bits could still do considerable damage depending on the relative velocity.

Re:A mile? (1)

aug24 (38229) | about 6 years ago | (#24840545)

The trajectories are actually chaotic, although roughly linear (well, elliptic) around the earth. As the bits also orbit around the moon, the ISS itself, and each other, there is no possible way to accurately predict their location in the future - the error margins will grow with time until a new and precise observation is made.

Q.V. The three-body problem [wikipedia.org] , and, more generally, the n-body problem (same page).

Justin.

Space help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24835775)

Ordinarily, the rockets on the ATV are used to take the ISS away from Earth's atmosphere and reduce drag.

Should that be "away from Earth's atmosphere to reduce drag"?

I'm not a rocket scientist. Is there another kind of drag that needs to be reduced?

Re:Space help? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24835887)

I'm not a rocket scientist. Is there another kind of drag that needs to be reduced?

The drag of being stuck in a space station! It's pretty much like being in prison, but when you stick some rockets on it, suddenly you feel like a supervillain!

Re:Space help? (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 6 years ago | (#24835945)

Is there another kind of drag that needs to be reduced?

Yes, they had too many transvestites on board.

slownewsday? (0)

TheDreadedGMan (1122791) | about 6 years ago | (#24835777)

DOH!

Space station has 1 in 72 chance of getting hit by space junk, fires rockets to move so it's a mile away getting closer to 1 in 10000...

story at 11

Re:slownewsday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24835809)

film at 6

Re:slownewsday? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#24836011)

Film will be interrupted for a recap of the story at 7

Re:slownewsday? (1)

bigplrbear (1179259) | about 6 years ago | (#24835921)

You would think that the chances of space junk hitting the ISS from a mile away would be zero

Re:slownewsday? (4, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about 6 years ago | (#24836041)

Depends on the error ellipse of the orbit determination for the junk, and it sounds like the uncertainty is a good fraction of a mile in size. But in any case, the miss distance is a mile after the course adjustment, not before.

Re:slownewsday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24835951)

I thought sinc(2003) was -1/2059.45

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24835787)

... space junk dodges you!

Better Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24835789)

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/ATV/SEM64X0SAKF_0.html

in soviet russia (1)

bigplrbear (1179259) | about 6 years ago | (#24835901)

space station dodge you

it needs friggen lasers (2, Interesting)

spotter (5662) | about 6 years ago | (#24836027)

this post made me wonder. could they repurpose the nautilus anti missle laser system to knock the space junk that threatens the station out of the vacum of space. Or could it make things worse? (lots of tiny particles you can't avoid vs. a couple of big particles.

Re:it needs friggen lasers (1)

icegreentea (974342) | about 6 years ago | (#24836211)

Cooling might be a problem. If your laser is powerful enough to vaporize a couple tons of debris, and transfer enough kinetic energy to change their orbit so they no longer intersect, its going to generate a good deal of heat. Maybe the ISS's current radiator can't handle it. Firing rockets is easier cause you get to dump all a lot of waste heat into your reaction mass and throw it into the void.

Re: it needs friggen lasers (5, Funny)

dominious (1077089) | about 6 years ago | (#24836507)

Or could it make things worse? (lots of tiny particles you can't avoid vs. a couple of big particles.

well, what we need then is a linux admin who has mastered that Asteroids game

Re:it needs friggen lasers (1)

amirulbahr (1216502) | about 6 years ago | (#24839121)

But how would you get the sharks into orbit?

Bring in the Toy Box. :) (1)

GrpA (691294) | about 6 years ago | (#24836055)

Time to call the Space Debris Section of Technora Corporation.... I wonder how far something like Planetes is off from reality at times. Excellent series. GrpA

"For the first time sinc[sic] 2003" (0, Redundant)

MonsterAar (1040912) | about 6 years ago | (#24836057)

I obviously don't know enough about the space industry but maybe they should sinc more often?

Oblig. Star Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24836099)

Never tell me the odds!

Planetes (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24836453)

Any fans of the anime Planetes [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Planetes (1)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | about 6 years ago | (#24837165)

I was actually thinking about ordering it just yesterday. I haven't seen it, but it seemed to get good reviews on Amazon, and sounded like the science was pretty sound.

Re:Planetes (3, Informative)

Narishma (822073) | about 6 years ago | (#24837329)

It's very good. And it's the only anime I've seen where there's no sound in space.

Recycle It! (4, Funny)

Hoffer53 (832181) | about 6 years ago | (#24837023)

They should attach large electromagnets to the ISS and collect all of the space junk it passes by for recycling. I wonder what payment the recycling depot would give for satellite parts.
I don't keep track of shuttle payloads, but I would imagine that there would be room for a satellite or two in the cargo bay on the return trip.

All kidding aside... (1)

Fished (574624) | about 6 years ago | (#24837647)

All kidding aside, the value of a pound of aluminum in LEO has to be thousands of dollars... I wonder if someday it might make sense for a larger, commercial space station to try to capture any random piece of matter that crosses its orbit, just for raw materials.

Re:All kidding aside... (1)

HeadlessNotAHorseman (823040) | about 6 years ago | (#24839365)

But what are you going to do with a pound of aluminium in LEO? You could use it as a doorstop maybe, but I'm not so sure that building a smithy in space is going to be cost effective. The anvils alone will cost a fortune to send up there!

Yeah! (1)

crhylove (205956) | about 6 years ago | (#24839769)

Yeah, I imagine some of the top-secret nuclear waste some of them might be recovering is totally worth a lot of money!!!

Within 1 mile? (4, Informative)

p3d0 (42270) | about 6 years ago | (#24837047)

That's a heck of a close call, considering the ISS is traveling at 4.8 miles per second. That's little like a car at highway speed running a red light and missing another car by less than one car length.

Re:Within 1 mile? (3, Interesting)

c6gunner (950153) | about 6 years ago | (#24837249)

That's a heck of a close call, considering the ISS is traveling at 4.8 miles per second. That's little like a car at highway speed running a red light and missing another car by less than one car length.

Not really, since their relative speeds may be far less. If the debris cloud is traveling on the same trajectory at 4.7 miles per second, then their relative velocity is only 360 miles per hour.

On the other hand, if it's traveling on the exact opposite trajectory at the same speed .... ouch.

Yeah, yeah (1)

p3d0 (42270) | about 6 years ago | (#24837543)

And my hypothetical intersection doesn't have to be at right angles either.

ISS altitude graph (4, Informative)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | about 6 years ago | (#24837199)

Here's a graph of ISS altitude [heavens-above.com] for the last year, if anyone is interested in hard data. (The steady downward slope is due to atmospheric drag, and the sharp increases are from firing maneuvering thrusters to maintain altitude. Presumably, the recent abrupt drop was the maneuver described in the article.)

Impact probability ? (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 6 years ago | (#24837223)

Anyone here know how they calculate "impact probability" ? I mean, my poor man's logic seems to think you either hit something, or you don't. Bool 1, or Bool 0.

If you miss something by a mile, how does that wind up being a 1 in 72 probability ? No offense to the space buffs, of which I am not one, but that sounds like game show odds to me: "You're bound to lose, but let's all act excited anyway!"

Re:Impact probability ? (2, Informative)

cyclone96 (129449) | about 6 years ago | (#24837961)

The calculated miss distance was about a mile, but there was uncertainty in that miss distance such that there was a 1 in 72 chance it wouldn't miss the ISS, but instead hit it directly.

To answer your question (at a high level), the sensors and models that are used to track and predict the debris locations have associated mathematical models that can put a number on the uncertainty of where that debris is. The uncertainty takes into account things like how many radar obs were made, the inherent accuracy of the radar, uncertainties in atmospheric drag, etc. You can never know exactly where an object is, only an approximation of the current and future location and a mathematical confidence in that estimate. In this case that confidence was sufficiently low (and the risk of impact high enough) that a collision avoidance maneuver was executed.

Hitting Space Junk (5, Funny)

BinBoy (164798) | about 6 years ago | (#24837849)

> ISS Dodges Space Junk For First Time In Five Years

It must be really banged up after 5 years of hitting space junk.

Admit it! You thought it too!

Pretty New Space Junk (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 6 years ago | (#24838373)

It's only 2 years old.

The Russian "contribution" to the ISS has been pretty much only obstacles. And that's why, ladies and gentlemen, the US plans to rely on Russian launches for our entire ISS mission programme.

Re:Pretty New Space Junk (3, Informative)

Cochonou (576531) | about 6 years ago | (#24838927)

The central ISS modules (Zarya, Zvezda) are Russian. Actually, the docking port the ATV is using is also Russian, using the "probe and drogue" technique. I would call their contribution quite remarkable.

Re:Pretty New Space Junk (1)

Zoxed (676559) | about 6 years ago | (#24840231)

> And that's why, ladies and gentlemen, the US plans to rely on Russian launches for our entire ISS mission programme.

Don't panic: those very clever Europeans can save the day (again): you can have a ride in the ATV [wikipedia.org] :-)

Shields made in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24839649)

If our ISS shields can't even handle space debris how are we supposed to defend against photon canons or sharks with lasers?

Duh. (1)

Undertone (1177631) | about 6 years ago | (#24840211)

And this is why ALL space-stations need at least one death ray.
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