Spacewalking astronauts avoid debris as they repair antenna

2 December 2021, 22:04

Astronaut Tom Marshburn replaces a broken antenna (Nasa/AP)
Space Station. Picture: PA

The spacewalk had been delayed because of potentially threatening space junk.

Spacewalking astronauts replaced a broken antenna outside the International Space Station after getting Nasa’s all-clear for orbiting debris.

US astronauts Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron were supposed to complete the job on Tuesday, but Nasa delayed the spacewalk because of potentially threatening space junk.

Nasa later determined the astronauts were safe to go out, despite a slightly increased risk of a punctured suit from satellite wreckage.

But soon after the spacewalk ended, Mission Control notified the crew that the station would need to move into a slightly lower orbit on Friday to avoid an old US rocket fragment.

Last month, Russia destroyed an old satellite in a missile test, sending pieces everywhere.

Nasa is not saying whether that event was the source of the junk that delayed the spacewalk.

During the first National Space Council meeting under Vice President Kamala Harris this week, top US government officials joined her in condemning Russia’s extensive debris-scattering last month.

More than 1,700 sizeable pieces of the shattered satellite are being tracked, with tens if not hundreds of thousands too small to see.

Ms Barron reported at least 11 small debris strikes to the failed antenna that was removed during the spacewalk, with some of the holes looking old.

The device, up there for more than 20 years, malfunctioned in September.

Mr Marshburn, 61, became the oldest person to conduct a spacewalk.

It was the fourth of his career.

Ms Barron, a 34-year-old space debutante, ventured out on her first.

They flew up on SpaceX last month for a six-month stay.

Two other Americans are aboard the space station, along with two Russians and one German.

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

Child uses laptop

Create watchdog to protect children online, charity says

Technology Stock

Dark web ‘scramble’ over Buffalo attack amid fears of post-pandemic attacks

Technology stock

Twitter users told to be wary of scam messages about verified accounts

Computer virus stock

Scientists create tool to kill cyber attacks in ‘less than a second’

Attorney General Suella Braverman

International law should be applied to cyberspace, Attorney General to say

Games console controller

Gaming sector in Scotland needs UK-wide network to thrive, report warns

Sir Nick Clegg

Sir Nick Clegg says the metaverse is coming ‘one way or another’

A child at a computer

Online Safety Bill fails to stop violence against women and girls, experts warn

Coders race to take part in Robot Dog Olympics

Coders take part in Robot Dog Olympics to help develop tech solutions for Army

Social media

Facebook says levels of harmful content taken down remain ‘consistent’

A teenage girl using a mobile phone (Chris Radburn/PA)

Looking for savings on mobile bills ‘more important than ever’, Sky Mobile boss says

Social media apps on a phone

Tech giants must be more transparent on online harms, campaigners say

Ken McCallum

MI5 chief Ken McCallum: Foreign spies are targeting officials online

A laptop user

Data protection reforms ‘must protect adequacy arrangement with the EU’

Global Child Online Safety Toolkit

Harry hopes his children ‘never experience the online world as it exists now’

Smart speaker

MPs launch inquiry into smart home speakers and connected tech