Space Junk Punches Hole In International Space Station Robotic Arm



A routine inspection of the Worldwide House Station final month discovered a gap in Canadarm2, the station’s 60-foot robotic arm used to ferry payloads and carry out upkeep on the station.

The offender: a rushing piece of area junk.

The Canadian House Company and NASA mentioned the 5 mm (0.20-inch) gap punched via a thermal blanket wrapped across the arm increase.

The arm’s efficiency was unaffected after what CSA officers referred to as a “fortunate strike.”

A hole is seen in Canadarm2 aboard the International Space Station in May 2021.

A gap is seen in Canadarm2 aboard the Worldwide House Station in Could 2021.

We’ll by no means know what, precisely, was accountable for the harm. NASA estimates there are 100 million items of particles bigger than 1 mm in low Earth orbit.

Whereas the scale of these objects is comparatively small, their pace of as much as 17,500 mph ― greater than eight instances sooner than an AR-15 bullet ― means even a tiny little bit of junk may cause important harm. Plus, the area station itself is shifting at about the identical pace, so a head-on collision poses a major danger.

Various area shuttle home windows, for instance, had to get replaced resulting from harm brought on by paint flecks in area. In 2016, a attainable paint flake struck a window within the area station’s Cupola, gouging out a 7 mm chip that was documented by European House Company astronaut Tim Peake.

“I’m usually requested if the Worldwide House Station is hit by area particles,” Peake mentioned on the time

. “Sure – that is the chip in one among our Cupola home windows, glad it’s quadruple glazed!”

Of the 100 million items of area trash, NASA tracks roughly 23,000 items which are bigger than a softball and able to inflicting main harm.


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