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Space Station Fires Thrusters To Avoid Dangerous Debris From Pegasus Rocket

The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on November 8, 2021. Credit: NASA Johnson

At 1:58 a.m. CST, 2:58 a.m. EST this morning (December 3, 2021), the Russian Progress 79, attached to the space station, fired its thrusters for 2 minutes and 41 seconds to slightly lower the station’s orbit. This maneuver provided a healthy margin of separation from a fragment of Pegasus rocket debris (object 39915) that ballistics specialists have been tracking. The Expedition 66 crew aboard the station is not in any additional danger.

The Pre-determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver, or PDAM, was coordinated between NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. It’s vision is “To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.””>NASA flight controllers, Russian ballistics officials, and the station’s other international partners.

The station’s orbit has been lowered by 3/10 of a mile at apogee and 4/10 of a mile at perigee. The current orbit is 262.6 x 258.8 statute miles.

Object 39915 was a piece of debris generated during the breakup of object 23106 (Pegasus R/B). The launch occurred on May 19, 1994, and the breakup of the rocket’s upper stage occurred on June 3, 1996.

Source: SciTechDaily