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Space Junk May Require ISS Maneuver In Advance of SpaceX's Dragon 47

Posted by timothy
from the always-something dept.
SpaceX's Dragon capsule, loaded with food and scientific gear, is scheduled to launch toward the ISS tomorrow evening (with backup launch slots on each of the following two days). There's a last-minute wrinkle, though: Space.com managing editor Tariq Malik reports that a piece of space debris "will pass near enough to the space station on Monday morning (Oct. 8) to require an avoidance maneuver as a safety precaution, NASA space station program manager Mike Suffredini said in a briefing [Saturday]." Tomorrow's planned flight is to be the first under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA that calls for a dozen resupply flights by SpaceX, essential in the post-shuttle era."
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Space Junk May Require ISS Maneuver In Advance of SpaceX's Dragon

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  • This is normal. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:45PM (#41574267) Homepage

    I was under the impression that maneuvers like this happen every few months or so, so this really isn't a big deal at all. In fact, TFA says so:

    NASA and its space station partners regularly move the space station when a piece of debris is expected to pass inside a preset safety perimeter. That safety zone is shaped like a pizza box and extends out 15 miles (25 kilometers) to either side, as well as a half-mile (0.75 km) above and below the station.

    • Re:This is normal. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by camperdave (969942) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:05PM (#41574349) Journal

      I was under the impression that maneuvers like this happen every few months or so, so this really isn't a big deal at all.

      What makes it somewhat of a big deal is that this is occurring so close to a resupply launch, especially because this is the first official commercial resupply launch (although, as you and the fancy article point out, it isn't really a big deal).

      • What also makes it a big deal is the source... Space.com - a website dedicated to space news. They're no different than any other news site in that they have to generate new content on a regular basis, and manned space, commercial space, and potential disasters are all great hit count generators. All three together make an irresistible trifecta.

    • Re:This is normal. (Score:5, Informative)

      by commlinx (1068272) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:35PM (#41574459) Journal

      That safety zone is shaped like a pizza box and extends out 15 miles (25 kilometers) to either side, as well as a half-mile (0.75 km) above and below the station.

      I wonder why it's shaped like a pizza box?

      I guess the forward deflector array must be more effective on the vertical plane but anyone know for sure?

      • Re:This is normal. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Acheron (2182) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @12:45AM (#41574729)

        Because orbital junk must be orbiting, thus it travels horizontally at much greater speeds than vertically.

      • by martin-boundary (547041) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @06:15AM (#41575811)

        I wonder why it's shaped like a pizza box?

        It's to prevent a blitz-attack by spaceballs. The more ludicrous the shape of the safety zone around the space station, the slower the spaceball attack must be. Due to quantum conservation of ludicrousness. Well known fact.

      • "forward deflector array" ? Modded informative ?!?
        The international space station is a real thing in orbit around the earth with real people on board.
        Deflector shields are not real. Star trek is fiction, Captain Kirk was an actor in front of some cameras.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Being modded funny doesn't increase your karma (last I checked anyway) so many people use other mods in its place. It's a tolerable way to get around a broken (by design) system.

      • The ISS orbits just 400 km above the ground, and experiences enough atmospheric drag to require periodic boosts back into higher orbit. About the only debris of concern is moving horizontally when it reaches the altitude of the ISS, anything that goes past it to lower altitudes hits atmosphere and quickly gets removed from orbit.

    • It also says: They'll just adjust while they're flying if we have to do the move," Suffredini said.

      I concur. Routine maneuver that's happening during a novel (kind of) situation. Irrelevant as far as I see, correct me if I missed something
    • A pizza is 3 dimensions. This defines a 2D shape hence no thickness is mentioned, I imagine they mean the side of a pizza box which is rectangular while the surface is square:

      From parent quote:
      That safety zone is shaped like a pizza box and extends out 15 miles (25 kilometers) to either side, as well as a half-mile (0.75 km) above and below the station.

       

  • Because it has "space" in the story, it seems interesting, but really, considering the amount of space junk out there and the now-familiar processes and procedures to avoid it, this is mostly boring stuff.

  • by toygeek (473120) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @01:29AM (#41574913) Homepage Journal

    Subject says it

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein

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