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International Space Station
Asteroids

How do space stations avoid being hit by asteroids?

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February 18, 2010 1:10AM

The space station is really never at risk from Asteroids. An asteroid is like a small planet in size, so if by small chance one ever came close to Earth, we would probably all be doomed.

However there is all kinds of space debris that the space station must be protected from. The most common threat is from micro meteorites. These are small particles of space rock that are usually only a few grams in size. It is impossible to avoid them, so spacecraft are designed to survive impacts. There are larger, more dangerous types of debris too, such as broken satellites, lost equipment, or even rocket boosters. The U.S. Strategic Command keeps a catalogue of over 19,000 pieces of space debris 10 cm in diameter and larger. If the space station ever gets too close, it will fire rocket engines to avoid the debris.