China blew up one of its satellites with a missile 14 years ago and this week a piece of the satellite nearly hit the International Space Station
ยท Nov 12, 2021 ยท

Little-known fact: Astronauts in the International Space Station have to work with the constant possibility that, at some point, a piece of hypersonic space junk might potentially obliterate the station:

On Wednesday, about six hours before NASA's Crew-3 mission launched to orbit, the International Space Station was forced to maneuver itself to avoid a piece of debris spawned by a Chinese antisatellite weapon test in 2007.

The piece of junk was projected to enter what's called the "pizza box," a square-shaped zone 2.5 miles deep and 30 miles wide, where the station sits in the middle. NASA officials keep close eyes on the zone using data models on the location of objects in space kept by the U.S. Space Command.

Faced with a threat to the zone, the agency worked with Russia's space agency in Moscow to fire station thrusters that raised its altitude by just under a mile.

Okay, first of all, "the pizza box"? That's not really a bad name in any way, but it... also feels like something a clever high school sophomore would come up with. Which NASA employee dubbed it that? Kudos to him for getting it past the higher-ups.

Second of all, apparently this threat isn't really going away anytime soon:

A large portion of [the Chinese satellite's] debris cloud is expected to stay in orbit for decades, threatening the space station and other spacecraft.

Sounds like the plot of a movie.

Oh wait... actually it was:

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