WASHINGTON — The International Space Station maneuvered to avoid a potential collision with a piece of space debris Sept. 22, an incident the head of NASA used to advocate for more funding for the agency directed to handle space traffic management. According to an August newsletter by NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office, the ISS previously maneuvered to avoid debris on April 19 and July 3. The Commerce Department requested $15 million for the Office of Space Commerce in its fiscal year 2021 budget proposal, with the bulk of the funding going to space traffic management work. “We continue to see serious risk of harm to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, billions of dollars invested in current space capabilities and the growth of space commerce,” Kevin O’Connell, director of the Office of Space Commerce, said of space debris during a Sept. 16 session of the AMOS space surveillance conference held online. In his remarks, O’Connell highlighted current and planned cooperation with other agencies, including NASA and the Defense Department, on space traffic management.