I still haven't found the official size of the ISS pizza box[1] and a search on the WEB doesn't help:

"30 miles deep and 30 miles long around the space station": https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/3dkpyn/international-space-station-dodge-space-junk

"two kilometers above and below the station and 25 kilometers cross-track and down-track": https://arstechnica.com/science/2013/07/how-nasa-steers-the-international-space-station-around-space-junk/

"±25 km in the direction of motion, ±25 km perpendicular to the direction of motion, and ±0.5 km radially from the ISS as it flies in orbit": https://books.google.de/books?id=9mseNE1wkLMC&pg=PA145&lpg=PA145#v=onepage&q&f=false

"0.75 kilometers above and below the station and 25 kilometers on each side": https://www.universetoday.com/92571/iss-will-do-manuever-friday-to-avoid-collision-with-satellite-debris/

Is there any official size?


[1]Pizza box: a safety region around the ISS. Please, see the 3rd link page 145 for an authoritative definition, which, in fact, answers my question (from that preview I didn't realize it was published by NASA).

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    $\begingroup$ Not sure what you're gonna get more authoritative than the 3rd link, which is an official NASA document. Unfortunately, NASA does not post ISS flight rules. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ From that preview I didn't realize it was published by NASA. Thank you. $\endgroup$
    – Cristiano
    Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I had written an answer based on the same document. I didn't recognize it from the link. So I deleted the answer. The document contains a good overview of the COLA process. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ I suggest adding a definition of the "pizza box" at the top of the question. I would do it by myself but my english skills are not too good. $\endgroup$
    – Ginasius
    Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh there is a copy here: dokumen.tips/documents/… $\endgroup$
    – Cristiano
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 8:50

1 Answer 1


I mentioned this in a comment, but an official answer is needed.

The document in your 3rd link is the official-as-it-gets NASA document The International Space Station - Operating an Outpost in the New Frontier

The ISS Flight Rules would be the authoritative source, but NASA does not publish them.

enter image description here

From p.145 in the link.

  • $\begingroup$ One would be interested in the rationale behind the orientation of said "pizza box." For instance, is said orientation driven by orbital mechanics constraints? Sensor limitations? $\endgroup$
    – Digger
    Commented May 4 at 16:23

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