[New Tang Dynasty Beijing time June 02, 2021]Due to human exploration, there are floating garbage and debris everywhere in space, many of which are too small to track, but the threat is big enough to destroy human space equipment and missions. Recently, a small piece of floating space debris hit Canada’s Canadarm2 robotic arm in the International Space Station (ISS) and caused some obvious damage.
According to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the robot arm in question was connected to the outside of the International Space Station, and a small part of the boom and insulation of the robot arm had been damaged.
The Canadian Space Agency stated that although extreme precautions have been taken to reduce the possibility of collisions, small objects hitting the International Space Station have indeed occurred. During a routine inspection of Canadarm2 on May 12, one such impact was noticed.
Experts from the Canadian Space Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) worked together to take detailed images and assess the impact. From the picture released by the Canadian Space Agency, a hole can be clearly seen in the Canadianrm2 robotic arm.
Fortunately, the performance of the Canadarm2 robotic arm has not been affected. The Canadian Space Agency said the results of the ongoing analysis showed that the damage was limited to a small section of the boom and insulation.
The increase in the number of space debris poses a potential hazard to all spacecraft, including the International Space Station and other spacecraft carrying humans. The US “Space Surveillance Network” (SSN) system has tracked more than 27,000 orbital debris or “space junk”, and many more debris are too small to track.
Since both the debris and the spacecraft fly at extremely high speeds, about 10 times the speed of a bullet, even a small piece of orbital debris hitting the spacecraft can cause major problems.
In 1996, a French satellite was hit and damaged by fragments of a French rocket that exploded ten years ago.
On February 10, 2009, a failed Russian spacecraft struck and destroyed a U.S. Iridium commercial spacecraft in operation. The collision added more than 2,300 large traceable debris and more small debris to the space junk list.
China’s 2007 anti-satellite test destroyed an old weather satellite with a missile, adding more than 3,500 large, trackable debris and more small debris to space.
Space debris has posed a serious threat. To ensure the safety of the International Space Station and its staff, NASA has developed a set of long-term guidelines to assess potential threats and take evasive actions or other preventive measures in a timely manner.
(Reporter Li Zhaoxi Comprehensive Report/Editor in Charge: Li Jia)
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