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ISS astronauts forced to take cover from a cloud of debris

In recent hours, astronauts on the ISS have been forced to take cover from a cloud of debris possibly caused by a Russian satellite

Categories Space Cinema · Spacecrafts

Today there have been moments of apprehension aboard the ISS: due to a cloud of debris that has forced the seven astronauts of the International Space Station, to take shelter in the capsules of belonging.

Collision between ISS and debris cloud risked

According to early sources (at the time NASA has not yet made official communications while Roscosmos has confirmed the news to Space.com), the first “close encounter”between the Space Station and the cloud of debris would take place on the morning of today November 15. Further passes followed in subsequent orbits at a rate of one every 90 minutes.

Fortunately, no pass was close enough for the Space Station to collide with the debris. There are no reports of any maneuvers performed to avoid hitting the cloud. Currently, on the International Space Station there are 7 astronauts. For NASA Vande Hei, Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron, the Russian cosmonauts are Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov and German Matthias Maurer of ESA. The two Russians repaired together with the American Vande Hei aboard the Soyuz MS-19 anchored to the station, while the other four used the Dragon that arrived a few days ago.

ISS astronauts debris cloud
The crew of Crew-3, which arrived in orbit a few days ago with the Dragon capsule

What caused the debris cloud

Still there is no certain news about what may have caused the cloud of debris that has lapped the orbit of the ISS but there is a concrete suspicion. According to a press conference by US State Department spokesman Ned Price, Russia is reported to have carried out an anti-satellite missile test against one of its satellites yesterday.

Specifically it appears to have hit Cosmos 1408, a 2-tonne satellite that was launched in 1982 and had been out of service for some time. The satellite was orbiting at about 485km from the surface, an orbit not extremely distant from that of the ISS.

In all likelihood then, it was this satellite that generated the cloud of debris that has endangered the astronauts of the ISS, waiting for official communications from NASA and further investigations will follow updates.

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