Plenty of astronomers have raised the alarm in the past about the high amount of space debris that wanders above the Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds. Any space mission in such an area poses a risk, and a good cleansing would sure be in handy.
The Canadarm2 robotic arm may not say too much for you, but it will surely be more remembered after the latest events. ScienceAlert.com writes about the International Space Station getting hit by a small piece of space junk. More precisely, the debris damaged the part of the ISS known as Canadarm2.
The International Space Station remains operational
Despite the incident, the ISS remains operational, and the colliding space debris was too small to even be tracked. However, when it comes to high speeds, size doesn’t matter too much. The hit still managed to pierce the thermal blanket and damage the boom from beneath.
Canadarm2 is formally known as the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System), and it can be described as a titanium robotic arm aiming at manoeuvring objects that are placed outside the International Space Station.
The (CSA) Canadian Space Agency that designed the Canadarm2 robotic arm wrote in a blog post the following:
Despite the impact, results of the ongoing analysis indicate that the arm’s performance remains unaffected,
The damage is limited to a small section of the arm boom and thermal blanket. Canadarm2 is continuing to conduct its planned operations.
Tim Florer, who is the head of the Space Debris Office at ESA, admitted one essential aspect within a statement from last year:
To continue benefiting from the science, technology and data that operating in space brings, it is vital that we achieve better compliance with existing space debris mitigation guidelines in spacecraft design and operations.
Until May 31, 2021, the International Space Station has been in the Earth’s orbit for 22 years, 6 months, and 11 days.