The crew members of the International Space Station they had a new scare in orbit. The laboratory was close to colliding with a possible satellite of Argentina, performing a maneuver to avoid it.
Although NASA did not identify the satellite, astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center, indicates that it would be the wildebeestsat-17 of the Aleph-1 constellation, operated by the Argentine company Satellogic.
According to McDowell, the orbits of the Satellogic constellation have gradually decayed. Because of that, the satellites are crossing the orbit of the International Space Station.
Orbital decay: the Satellogic constellation is only one of a number of Earth observing constellations with multiple satellites entering the ISS orbital height regime. Im magenta, Nusat-17 which was the cause of yesterday’s ISS dodge manuever pic.twitter.com/OM0mcToe0p
—Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) March 7, 2023
The Aleph-1 constellation is made up of 30 satellites, the most recent launched in early 2023, according to the portal Argentina in Space.
ÑuSats are nanosatellites dedicated to Earth observation. In 2016, the first two, nicknamed Fresco and Batata, were sent into space. becoming the first commercial satellites of Argentina.
Each ÑuSat nanosatellite weighs 37 kilograms.
NASA explained what happened to the International Space Station and the satellite
The event of the International Space Station with the device happened last Monday, as reported by NASA in its weekly summary.
“The orbital outpost was maneuvered out of the way of an Earth observation satellite early Monday,” he said. “ISS Progress 83 resupply ship, docked, It started its engines for just over six minutes.”
Thanks to this, the station’s orbit was raised slightly, to prevent the satellite from approaching.
“The new orbital trajectory will not affect the upcoming Crew-5 mission sortie”, explained the US aerospace agency.
Space debris, a problem for the laboratory
In 2021 and 2022, the International Space Station was in danger of collision with clouds of debris of Russian and Chinese origin. At the first opportunity, the crew even took refuge in their transport ship.
During the last years there have been about thirty incidents related to space debris, according to Newsweek, including a fragment of the Chinese Fengyun-1C weather satellite, destroyed in an anti-satellite missile test.