Space Stations

ISS Spacewalk Postponed Due to Russian Orbital Debris Avoidance

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
December 21, 2022
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ISS Spacewalk Postponed Due to Russian Orbital Debris Avoidance
Astronaut Josh Cassada is pictured during a spacewalk on Nov. 15, 2022, to ready the space station for future rollout solar array installation work.

While flight control teams were preparing for today’s U.S. spacewalk, updated tracking data on a fragment of Russian Fregat-SB upper stage debris showed a close approach to station.

Based on this new data, flight control teams directed the crew to stop spacewalk preparations as the ground team stepped into procedures to perform a Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM.)

The maneuver will use the Roscosmos Progress 81 thrusters to provide the complex an extra measure of distance away from the predicted track of the debris. Thruster firing is targeted to occur at 8:42 a.m. EST. The crew is not in any immediate danger.

Without the maneuver, it is predicted that the fragment could pass within less than a quarter mile from the station.

NASA managers will assess the next possible opportunity to perform the day’s planned spacewalk to install a new set of roll-out solar arrays to augment the station’s power capabilities.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.