Faced with the threat of space junk floating in orbit, European Space Agency (ESA) achieved avoid a collision with one of its satellites.
This Thursday, the astronauts maneuvered satellite Charlie to prevent that collided with a large part of a missing satellite.
“Fortunately, ESA’s Space Debris Office is there, keeping the Swarm mission safe and sound so we can continue to unravel fundamental mysteries about our planet,” the agency wrote on social media.
Swarm is the European agency’s mission launched in 2013 to investigate the Earth’s magnetic field. It is made up of three satellites, A, B, and C, known as Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie.
Collision avoided! 💥 Never a dull day for @esaoperationswho have swerved Bravo, Alpha – and now Charlie – out of the way of #SpaceDebris in recent months. Yesterday, Charlie was maneuvered down to avoid a big chunk of a defunct satellite 🕹️🚀 But we’re safe & back on track. pic.twitter.com/CR647AVfHN
— ESA Swarm mission (@esa_swarm) August 5, 2022
Due to the large amount of space debris, the journey of satellites in orbit is like trying to walk in a straight line in the center of a crowded city, detailed the ESA.
In July, the satellites Bravo and Alpha were also diverted sharply out of the debris path.
Carrying out evasive action requires planning, as it must be verified that the satellite is not moving to a new orbit that puts you at risk of other collisions.
In addition, it must be calculated how to return to original position using the least amount of fuel and losing the least amount of scientific data.
The ESA maintains that the risk of collisions can be reduced with a more sustainable behaviortaking responsibility for space debris.
According to the agency, around 34 thousand pieces of garbage floating in space of over 10 centimeters.
According to their models, the amount of objects larger than 1 centimeter in size probably exceed a million, while there is 128 million that measure between 1 millimeter and 1 centimeter. In addition, there are 21 thousand unidentified objects and fragments.
Equally, 2 thousand 850 satellites that no longer work are still in orbit, along with 1,950 spaceships that are useless.
This equals 8,800 tons of space debris, traveling at kilometers per second, that share orbit with 2,700 functional satellites.
Every little piece can cause Serious damage to a satellite or a ship; the largest ones can destroy even destroy some and create a lot of new waste.
On average, each ESA satellite has to perform two evasive maneuvers each year, in addition to the multiple collision alerts the agency receives.