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  Space Shuttles - Space Station
  ISS: Moving station higher to avoid debris

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Author Topic:   ISS: Moving station higher to avoid debris
Tykeanaut
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Posts: 1624
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 04-07-2012 03:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceflight Now reports that statistics show the International Space Station came under growing danger from space junk after 2007...
...with half of the orbiting lab's close calls since then due to near-collisions with debris from a Chinese anti-satellite missile test, the mysterious explosion of a Russian military spacecraft, and the cataclysmic high-speed crash of two satellites.
Is there any possibility or benefit from boosting the ISS into a higher permanent orbit?

Jim Behling
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Posts: 537
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 04-07-2012 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tykeanaut:
Is there any possibility or benefit from boosting the ISS into a higher permanent orbit?
No, then Soyuz and Progress would be unable to reach it.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3023
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-07-2012 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To significantly reduce the threat, ISS would have to be boosted above 1200 nautical miles (lots of energy required to raise the station and get to it); it would also alter the orbital period to over two hours - whatever tangential effects that would have on power, thermal cycling, ground control, etc. would also have to be considered.

issman1
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Posts: 888
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 04-07-2012 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What I find a bit confusing is that the engines of the Russian Zvezda module may not last till 2020 if used too often, yet they have been used in several instances for orbital debris avoidance.

It has also been confirmed that after the fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle undocks in 2014, the ISS will no longer need boosting. Moving the station higher in low earth orbit thereafter was not only ruled out but is impractical.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-07-2012 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
...the ISS will no longer need boosting.
I don't believe that is correct.

The linked article reports that due to the ATV, the station's propellant tanks have or will be filled to capacity, and commercial U.S. flights will have the ability to refill them as needed.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3023
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-07-2012 05:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Propellant is only one limiting factor - the Zvezda reboost engines have a rated service life of just under 7 hours each.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-07-2012 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But that still doesn't negate the need or ability to do re-boosts. The engine on the Progress cannot only serve this role, per NASA, it provides the primary method for reboosting the ISS.

kyra
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Posts: 507
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 04-08-2012 12:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The good news is that it doesnt take radical orbit changes when a potential collision is seen possible many orbits in advance. The tracking and prediction abilities get better all the time.

issman1
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Posts: 888
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 10-15-2012 07:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ISS is now at its highest altitude yet, 270 miles. Are there plans to boost it even higher before the final ATV departs in 2014, perhaps in excess of 300 miles?

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 10-15-2012 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Over 300 miles? Only if a Soyuz or a Progress can reach that altitude (which I am not entirely too certain if they can).

issman1
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Posts: 888
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 10-15-2012 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's all about longevity. The higher the station is the lower the risk of it ending up like Skylab. That said, the Hubble Telescope is predicted to re-enter by the end of this decade. A sad fate unless it can be reboosted by someone with the means to.

Incredulous also to think Progress, Soyuz, HTV or even Dragon can only reach the lowest point in a low earth orbit.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 537
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 10-15-2012 06:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Incredulous also to think Progress, Soyuz, HTV or even Dragon can only reach the lowest point in a low earth orbit.
Why is it incredulous? The higher the ISS, the less the spacecraft can carry.

Glint
Member

Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-02-2013 12:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space.com reporting a 'Bullet Hole' in one ISS solar panel wing:
A small piece of space junk or naturally occurring celestial debris created the tiny hole in one of the space station's wing-like solar arrays at some point in the outpost's 14-year history in orbit. Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield spotted the puncture and posted a photo of it on Twitter on Monday (April 29).

All times are CT (US)

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