ISS Astronauts Move to Docked Spacecraft During Satellite Break Up

A satellite fragmented in low Earth orbit caused nine astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to temporarily link up with their return ship.

Just after 9 p.m. EDT, the Expedition 71 crew boarded their spacecrafts, including the Boeing Starliner, as reported in a brief NASA update on X. The astronauts were probably just drifting off to sleep when it happened. The process was done as a precautionary measure, and the station got back to its regular schedule.

A debris-generating event was detected the same evening by LeoLabs, a satellite collision detection organization. The Russian spacecraft SATNO 39186, which is currently not in service, seems to have ejected debris, according to first reports. Over a hundred pieces of identifiable debris were produced, according to U.S. Space Command’s assessment on X. Military officials have said that they have not seen any imminent danger and are carrying out their usual routine assessments.

There is an increasing quantity of space trash that has to be addressed. Including untraceable fragments, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is now monitoring about 45,300 space objects. There may be more than 7,560 controllable satellites in Earth’s orbit; the number of active spacecraft is worrisome to the Union of Concerned Scientists. In order to keep an eye on the region around the International Space Station, NASA collaborates with the United States military. If any measurable objects, around 2 inches in size, enter the area surrounding the ISS orbit, the space station is usually ordered to relocate.

Additionally, astronauts are required by NASA protocol to take refuge in their return ship in the event that a statistically insignificant danger necessitates the evacuation of the International Space Station. At this point in the Boeing Starliner spacecraft’s 10-day Crew Flight Test mission, the mishap highlights the points NASA officials have been making about the spacecraft.