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European space debris avoidance manoeuvre succeeds

A French control centre has for the first time used a novel procedure to protect the International Space Station from space debris.

A team based at the Space Centre of Toulouse prevented a collision between the ISS and space debris on 27 October in 2 hours rather than the 24 hours it took them before. The team did this by designing a Predetermined Debris Avoidance Manoeuvre (PDAM) to allow ATV-5, an automated transfer vehicle attached to the space station, to use its propulsion to change the station’s orbit. 

Previously only a Russian spacecraft could perform the manoeuvre to avoid space debris.

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