ATV boosts ISS safely away from space debris

(Updated 5-4-2011) NASA says the DAM burn ran for 3 min 18 seconds and achieved a change in velocity of 0.49 m/s, increasing the mean altitude by 0.85 km.

(Updated 4-4-2011) At 4:46 CEST this morning, ISS mission controllers used ATV Johannes Kepler's thrusters to boost the ISS so as to avoid any possibility of intercepting a catalogued piece of space debris. The ATV's Orbit Correction System (ATV OCS) - a set of 4 thrusters mounted on the bottom of the vessel - was commanded to give the ISS a slightly faster orbital speed - 0.5 m/second.

The Debris Avoidance Manoeuvre (DAM) was made necessary by the fact that a piece of debris from the February 2009 collision between Russia's COSMOS 2251 and the Iridium 33 satellite was making close passes by the Station.

Read more about space debris and ESA's Space Situational Awareness programme here and here.

About Daniel

Daniel Scuka is Senior Editor for Spacecraft Operations at ESOC, ESA's European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany.
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