On Monday, for the first time, we performed a set of manoeuvres to avoid a high-risk collision w. #SpaceDebris created in the #Cosmos1408 anti-satellite test last year.

This was a difficult #CollisionAvoidance manoeuvre.👏👏to our #Sentinel1A Control Team & Space Debris Office
#CollisionAvoidance monitoring is unfortunately routine work at #MissionControl, and our teams are well-practiced in reacting to high-risk events.

This near head-on #collision was however unique; the situation evolved rapidly, was tricky to avoid, AND we had <24 hrs warning
Sentinal-1A, part of the @CopernicusEU Sentinel-1 radar observatory providing day-and-night images of Earth’s surface, had its orbit altered by 140 m in order to prevent collision with a debris fragment ~several cm in diameter

Even though the Cosmos satellite orbited more than 200km below #Sentinel1, the energy released during its explosion pushed fragments of it all the way up, intersecting our orbit.
Quick reaction by teams at #MissionControl, who managed to plan and execute an avoidance manoeuvre in a matter of hours, meant we safely avoided impact

This incident highlights the devastating risks to the whole space environment from the (intentional) creation of space debris

It is #TimeToAct

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More from @esaoperations

Oct 29, 2020
Solar cycle 25: the Sun wakes up🌤️

Experts on the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel recently announced the Sun has officially entered a new cycle, its 25th since we’ve had enough data to reliably recognise them.

👉 esa.int/Safety_Securit…

ESA/NASA SOHO, 2012 - Brendan Gallagher
While we can expect #spaceweather to get more exciting in the next few years, with peak sunspot activity expected in 2025, the panel came to the consensus that this next cycle will be very similar to the previous – both generally weaker than the average solar cycle.

“While small and medium-sized solar storms are more likely during peak solar activity,” says Jussi Luntama, Head of ESA’s #SpaceWeather Office, “its important to remember that individual large solar events can happen any time, independent of we are in the solar cycle.”
Read 5 tweets
Oct 27, 2020
ESA's #missioncontrol centre is preparing for the launch of #Sentinel6 on 10 Nov.

In particular, teams are rehearsing the 'Launch and Early Orbit Phase' – the riskiest period in the fledgling spacecraft's life

Find out more🛰️👉esa.int/Enabling_Suppo… Image
Like a bird hatching from the egg, this is the period in which a new spacecraft unfurls its solar arrays, wakes up to test its core functioning and manoeuvres into the correct path, all the while at its most vulnerable to the hazards of space.

#Sentinel6 Image
The @CopernicusEU #Sentinel6 Michael Freilich satellite will ensure the 'continuity of service’ of the Jason missions currently providing data on Earth’s changing oceans, but reaching the end of their lives. Image
Read 9 tweets
Jun 28, 2020
2️⃣ days til #AsteroidDay!

The second most likely asteroid to strike Earth is 2018 VP1. A tiny little thing, it is estimated to be just 2.4 m in diameter and has a (relatively) high chance of striking Earth in November this year of 1 in 193

Even though 2018 VP1 seems very small, meteorites still regularly reach Earth's surface - it all depends on the composition of the asteroid.

ESA & @mfnberlin are currently studying the physical processes as an asteroid enters Earth's atmosphere with velocities above 11 km/s
In 2018, a similarly small object - 2018 LA - entered Earth over Botswana and South Africa. This was only the third asteroid that was detected before it impacted Earth

📷Barend Swanepoel
Read 4 tweets
Oct 1, 2019
To date, more than 5800 launches have resulted in over 44,000 tracked objects in orbit, of which more than 20,000 remain in space and are regularly tracked by surveillance networks around the globe
~26% of catalogued objects are satellites, and only a small fraction of those - about 2000 - are still operating today
~17% of tracked objects are used upper stages of rockets and mission-related objects like launch adapters and lens covers
A drifting thermal blanket,📸1998
More than half of the #spacedebris population was generated by 500+ in-space break-ups. The two major fragmentation events are clearly visible as jumps in the graph:
2007: Chinese anti-satellite missile test
2009: Collision between Iridium 33 and Kosmos-2251 satellites
Read 9 tweets
Sep 2, 2019
For the first time ever, ESA has performed a 'collision avoidance manoeuvre' to protect one of its satellites from colliding with a 'mega constellation'
@esa This morning, @ESA's #Aeolus Earth observation satellite fired its thrusters, moving it off a collision course with a @SpaceX satellite in their #Starlink constellation
@esa @SpaceX @ESA_EO Experts in our #SpaceDebris team calculated the risk of collision between these two active satellites, determining the safest option for #Aeolus would be to increase its altitude and pass over the @SpaceX satellite
Read 11 tweets
Aug 2, 2019
The surprise close approach of asteroid '2019 OK' illustrates need for more eyes on the sky☄️🔭
Find out more: esa.int/Our_Activities…
Two key goals of ESA’s #PlanetaryDefence activities are, by 2030, Europe will be able to
1. Provide early warning for dangerous asteroids larger than 40 m in size, about three weeks in advance☄️

Find out about the 'bug-eyed' #Flyeye telescope that will scan our skies in the search for risky #spacerocks: esa.int/spaceinimages/…
Read 4 tweets

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