At 1:58 a.m. CST, 2:58 a.m. EST this morning, the Russian Progress 79, attached to the space station, fired its thrusters for 2 minutes and 41 seconds to slightly lower the station’s orbit. This maneuver provided a healthy margin of separation from a fragment of Pegasus rocket debris (object 39915) that ballistics specialists have been tracking. The Expedition 66 crew aboard the station is not in any additional danger.
The Pre-determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver, or PDAM, was coordinated between NASA flight controllers, Russian ballistics officials, and the station’s other international partners.
The station’s orbit has been lowered by 3/10 of a mile at apogee and 4/10 of a mile at perigee. The current orbit is 262.6 x 258.8 statute miles.
Object 39915 was a piece of debris generated during the breakup of object 23106 (Pegasus R/B). The launch occurred on May 19, 1994, and the breakup of the rocket’s upper stage occurred on June 3, 1996. Locate more information about how NASA manages the risk of orbital debris at: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/news/orbital_debris.html
Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.
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