Dec. 8, 2012
Not long ago, the ISS has been attacked from space. Unknown object, most likely a small meteorite, damaged solar panel ISS. Threats to the station and the astronauts living there. But there is reason to think about the creation of a global system of control and protection from space aliens.
It was not even a meteorite, but just a little splinter. However, the damage inflicted serious - Solar panels will probably be repaired. Micrometeors was so small that on Earth, its rapprochement with the space station is simply not noticed. And they could not see.
Russian space control system, the heart of which the Mission Control Center outside Moscow, captures only an approximation much larger objects.
"The screen parameters are visible to the dangerous proximity of the ISS space object - says Deputy Chief of Mission Control, Nikolai Sokolov. Here the picture shows the contours of the ISS, the contours of the debris and that at the moment of closest approach of about 12 kilometers. "
Locators on Earth can detect a body larger than 20 centimeters. Spent satellites, rocket stages and much more - all that is left of humanity on the Earth's orbit. When the intruder suddenly approaching the ISS at least 15 kilometers, he is hired to control here in the Queen, and in the U.S. Mission Control Center in Houston. If the distance is less, to make joint decisions on evasion ISS from dangerous objects.
"If the probability of a collision with the ISS space debris greater than 10 -4 degrees, there is once more attention to this situation and take measures preparatory, - the director of the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences Boris Shustov. If 10 to -3, the measures are not only, say, the deviation of the orbit of the station. Even taken measures such as congestion in the transport vehicle. "
Over the past 4 years debris threatened the ISS 22 times. Maneuvers do not have to every time. Objects in space do not move in a straight line, and sometimes change the path, for example, under the influence of the atmosphere and the sun.
"The average speed of the ISS more than 7 kilometers per second", - says Nikolay Sokolov. Velocity of the debris in the same orbit about the same. Debris to move in different directions. And if we take the worst case, if it is moving toward the International Space Station, and he and the other object is traveling at more than 7 kilometers per second, and they are facing, the relative velocity is obtained about 15 kilometers per second. "
Caution, Danger Room, a space at the speed of the ram 5400 miles per hour. Even modern technology in a collision at speeds not survive. It is currently tested American communications satellite Iridium, which in 2009 was faced with already defunct Russian spacecraft Cosmos.
2009 Iridium & Cosmos spacecrafts collision
"The bullet 9 grams, if it does not fly, it does not represent any danger - emphasizes the general designer of space control Victor Shilin. 400 meters per second out of the trunk is released, it is deadly to humans. The same 9 grams of any fragment of a spacecraft that fly at a speed of 8 kilometers per second, it is 20 times faster than a bullet. They can affect not only the astronaut, and the spacecraft. "
Today, on the initiative of Russian Space Agency in the country developing a new system of space monitoring. Network of robotic telescopes and radars will monitor closely all the firmament and risk taking under the supervision of the objects that present a threat.
Satellite hits by micrometeors
"If there is a chance to avoid the collision and new damage, you have to use it, - says Victor Shilin. Not waste fuel, should actually spend money that additional supplies of fuel were on board. Or rely on something that will have a shorter life activity of the spacecraft, but the collision will happen, will not happen littering not only for himself but for all of humanity of those orbits in which we operate. One must study the garbage and try to get away, to avoid these collisions. "
Space debris is planetary. Ideas are born, how to clean the orbit, for example, launched into space automatic cleaner. But even if the human race will cease to launch rockets and satellites, existing objects in orbit will decay and eventually litter the space. To break through the Earth's orbit will be impossible.
Original text in Russian: http://www.federalspace.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=19747
Images, Text, Credits: Roskosmos TV Studio / ROSCOSMOS / NASA / Kinyen Pong / Translation: Orbiter.ch.
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