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NASA Delays ISS Antenna Replacement Due to Space Debris Possibly Caused by Russia

NASA Delays ISS Antenna Replacement Due to Space Debris Possibly Caused by Russia

Meanwhile, a US Space Force General indicates that Russia, as well as China, are attacking U.S. space assets ‘every day’.

In mid-November, we reported that Russia shot down a satellite in orbit in a test of a new missile system.

The resulting debris field forced the astronauts aboard the International Space Station to take shelter in their spacecraft.

Now, a spacewalk that was scheduled to replace an antenna has been postponed because of the ongoing debris hazard. And while there is no official indication that the debris is from the test, the timing is at least suggestive.

NASA delayed a spacewalk that was scheduled to occur Tuesday morning, to replace broken hardware outside the International Space Station, due to a warning about possible dangerous debris.

NASA had planned for Thomas Marshburn, 61, and Kayla Barron, 34, to exit the space station about 7:10 a.m. EST for more than six hours. The spacewalk would be Marshburn’s fifth and Barron’s first.

The spacewalk was scheduled as NASA grappled with increased risk of space debris that could damage the space station or astronaut spacesuits.

“NASA received a debris notification for the space station,” the ISS tweeted early Tuesday. “Due to the lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk it could pose to the astronauts, teams have decided to delay the Nov. 30 spacewalk until more information is available.”

NASA planned to televise the spacewalk.

The outing would be the fifth spacewalk for Marshburn, 61, a medical doctor and former flight surgeon with two previous trips to orbit, and the first for Barron, 34, a U.S. Navy submarine officer and nuclear engineer on her debut spaceflight for NASA.

The objective is to remove a faulty S-band radio communications antenna assembly, now more than 20 years old, and replace it with a new spare stowed outside the space station.

According to plans, Marshburn was to have worked with Barron while positioned at the end of a robotic arm operated from inside the station by German astronaut Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency, with help from NASA crewmate Raja Chari.

At least the diverse debris field created by the Russians will hit all the space assets equitably!

Meanwhile, a US Space Force General indicates that Russia, as well as China, are attacking U.S. space assets ‘every day’.

“The threats are really growing and expanding every single day. And it’s really an evolution of activity that’s been happening for a long time,” Gen. David Thompson, the Space Force’s first vice chief of space operations, told me in an interview on the sidelines of the recent Halifax International Security Forum. “We’re really at a point now where there’s a whole host of ways that our space systems can be threatened.”

Right now, Space Force is dealing with what Thompson calls “reversible attacks” on U.S. government satellites (meaning attacks that don’t permanently damage the satellites) “every single day.” Both China and Russia are regularly attacking U.S. satellites with non-kinetic means, including lasers, radio frequency jammers and cyber attacks, he said.

Thompson repeatedly declined to comment on whether China or Russia has attacked a U.S. military satellite in a way that did permanent or significant damage, telling me that would be classified if it had happened.

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Comments

2smartforlibs | December 1, 2021 at 7:30 pm

Space force doesn’t look so funny now does it?

What Russia did is equivalent to hooligans in a truck flinging beer bottles out the window to smash on the highway. Geneva needs to sentence the offending general to going up there personally and policing the space lanes clean..

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