International Space Station robotic arm struck by space debris
During a routine inspection of the International Space Station on May 12, damage was discovered on the Canadarm2, a nearly 60-foot-long robotic arm on the station.
According to a post from the Canadian Space Agency on May 28, the arm is believed to have taken a hit from a small piece of space debris, one too small to track. The debris impacted and left its mark, a hole in part of the arm and the white thermal blanket that wraps around it.
Tracking of orbital debris only occurs for objects that are softball size and larger. Smaller objects such as rock, or dust particles and flecks of paint from satellites, are not tracked due to the significant difficulty in locating and maintaining constant awareness of the objects location.
NASA takes the threat of space collisions very seriously as the safety of the astronauts on board the orbiting science laboratory is among the agency’s top priorities.
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, CSA, worked together to analyze and assess the damage to the areas of concern, taking detailed images of the impact to the arm and working with engineers to determine the severity.
Experts for both agencies have determined that the damage is limited and the arm’s performance is unaffected. The agencies plan to continue all planned near-term robotic operations onboard the station.
Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.