Thursday, November 06, 2014

The ISS Has a Moment of "Gravity"

 In a moment reminiscent of Hollywood's 'Gravity', the ISS instead avoided being struck by space

In late October, the ESA reported that the ISS lab was threatened with a collision by space junk.  The usual procedure is to have a docked Progress supply ship push the multi-toned craft out of harms way, which in this instance was a hand sized piece of metal from an earlier collision between a defunct Russian and an operational US satellite, traveling at 17000 mph.

The problem was however that there were none of the regular craft on station to pull duty until quick thinking controllers at the ESA ATV Control Center in Toulouse, France remembered that the ISS currently had the  Automated Transfer Vehicle Georges Lemaître, which ferries supplies to the station from Earth. The unmanned ship,  is controllable from Earth. Which meant that a team of engineers  at the ATV control center were able to use the supply craft to  move the ISS.

The Georges Lemaître, was instructed to fire its engine for 4 minutes which moved the ISS' orbit by one mile.

Complete Atlantic article HERE

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