Space debris, or space junk as it is commonly referred to, has been a problem that has just been on a rise ever since space missions first began almost 50 years ago. Debris like paint flakes, needle clusters and collision remains have been some of the kinds that have been circling around in the atmosphere. Space debris, as an issue, has been increasingly worrying space mission experts, since even a tiny speck could potentially damage or destroy the spacecraft.
Expedition 27 spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station was launched from Earth last night. Just a few moments later, news of the spacecraft being almost hit by the debris from Chinese FENGYUN 1C satellite began surfacing. Although NASA denied any damages being caused, it sure is a cause of worry. Soon after, NASA began monitoring the route of the spacecraft to check for any further debris in their path. ISS Commander, Dmitry Kondratyev, was notified about the chances of them having to take cover if they spotted more debris, since it takes a prior 3 day notice incase of a shifting of such nature. Their routes, however, were deemed clear and Commander Dmitry along with flight engineers Catherine Coleman and Paolo Nespoli were given the go-ahead.
Surveillance should avoid this..
According to NASA’s tracking details, more than 500,000 pieces of debris has been located. Almost 20,000 of them are larger than that of a softball. In addition to it, they travel through the space at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour, thus making the impact on collision more damaging.
Amidst all the worry about the safety of a spacecraft, the European Space Agency has pioneered a space surveillance system. With this system in place it will now be possible to track 15,000 to 20,000 objects on the radar for at least 10 seconds each day.