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In-orbit debris causes an ISS spacewalk to be postponed

In-orbit debris causes an ISS spacewalk to be postponed

NASA astronauts on the ISS were forced to postpone a scheduled extravehicular activity due to space debris in orbit.

Due to space debris, NASA sends a spacewalk outside the ISS

The problem of space debris continues to create problems for the ISS. After the planned destruction of the Russian satellite in recent weeks, a new alarm forced NASA to cancel an external operation. In fact, a spacewalk should have been held, what is actually called EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity), by American astronauts Kayla Barron And Thomas Marshburn. The two were now ready to begin the complex preparation process when, around 13:10 yesterday – November 30 – Italian time, they received a counterorder from NASA. The extravehicular activity had the goal of replace one of the antennas arranged outside the International Space Station.

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The reasons behind the postponement of the mission would be to be found in a cloud of space debris dangerously close to the ISS. The risk factor, considered too high by the controllers on the ground, would have led NASA to postpone the replacement of the antenna until a later date.

Kessler syndrome: the ripple effect of space debris

It is not yet clear whether the debris in question were fragments of the Russian satellite ASAT. The fact is that the problem of space debris continues to be a factor in the planning of missions by the various agencies. According to Kessler syndromenamed after the NASA consultant who theorized it in 1978, space debris creates an irreversible and dangerous ripple effect. Kessler speculated that the more debris there is, the more likely it is that it collides with each other. The clash would generate further fragments, smaller and smaller, which will lead the phenomenon to a point of no return. Quite a disastrous scenario if you think about the international goals of travel to Mars.

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Over the years, various hypotheses have been put forward to solve the problem, but to date the ISS finds itself constantly having to correct your course to avoid dramatic collisions.