International Space Station Fired Its Thrusters Friday To Dodge More Space Debris

"The International Space Station dodged a fragment of a decades-old rocket body early Friday morning," reports, "continuing a stretch of space debris threats to the orbiting laboratory." On Friday (Dec. 3) at around 3 a.m. EST (0800 GMT), a Russian cargo ship docked to the International Space Station fired for a little under three minutes to lower the facility's orbit and ensure that it would pass safely by the debris, according to statements from NASA and its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos.... In a tweet posted on Wednesday (Dec. 1), Roscosmos flagged the risk posed by the rocket fragment, which it said was estimated to pass as close as 3.4 miles (5.4 kilometers) to the space station. Just the day before the alert was posted, on Tuesday (Nov. 30), NASA had been forced to delay a spacewalk scheduled for later in the day due to concerns about debris. The agency has not specified what that debris represents, but NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron were able to conduct their excursion on Thursday (Dec. 2). NASA identified Friday's debris was part of a 1994 U.S. Pegasus rocket, which later broke up in space 1996.

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