The International Space Station had to cancel yet another spacewalk. This time, however, the walk was canceled due to the ISS having to evade Russian space debris for at least the second time this year. The space station, which is currently slated to be decommissioned in the 2030s, has found itself experiencing issues caused by Russian spacecraft several times in 2022.
The first time that the ISS had to swerve to avoid Russian space debris this year was back in June. An anti-satellite test from 2021 caused that debris. This time, however, NASA says the newest spacewalk was canceled when debris from an old Fregat upper stage passed within a quarter mile of the space station.
The spacewalk was rescheduled for today. Thankfully the astronauts involved in it will were able to finally start the installation of a new set of solar arrays. As noted above, this isn’t the first time that the ISS has had to swerve to avoid Russian space debris, nor is it likely to be the last. But Russia isn’t the only country with a ton of debris flying around up there, either.
The space junk conundrum is one that has caused quite a bit of concern with astronomers for many years now. And there are even concerns that the amount of debris in orbit around our planet could one day keep us from getting other spacecraft out of orbit and onto their respective missions.
At 11-foot-wide, the Russian space debris could have potentially caused critical damage to the space station if it hit. However, with the maneuvers, the ISS could move safely away from its path. Still, this is just the latest in a long line of dodges and evasion maneuvers that have pot marked the ISS’s history in orbit.
With the ongoing issues regarding the Soyuz leak, it isn’t very reassuring to see yet another spacewalk canceled on the ISS. Thankfully, the team was able to reschedule it and get things moving again rather quickly.