Space Junk No Longer Threatening Space Station

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Update: The three astronauts aboard the International Space Station no longer have to worry about a small piece of space junk heading their way.

Mission Control informed the crew Tuesday afternoon that the debris no longer poses a threat. Eight hours earlier, Mission Control told the astronauts they might have to seek shelter in their attached capsule. That precaution is no longer needed.

The 6-inch piece of debris is from a Chinese satellite that was deliberately destroyed in 2007 as part of a weapons test. Initial estimates put it passing within three miles of the space station late Thursday afternoon. But as the afternoon wore on, the threat level went from red to green.

One Russian, one American and one Italian are on board.


A small piece of space junk is drifting dangerously close to the International Space Station.

NASA has ordered the three station astronauts to seek shelter late Tuesday afternoon in the Russian Soyuz capsule that is docked at the orbiting complex. A NASA spokesman says there's no time to steer the station out of harm's way.

The debris is from a Chinese satellite that was deliberately destroyed in 2007 as part of a weapons test. It's projected to pass within a couple miles of the space station.

It's possible the risk of a collision will diminish. If that happens, the three station residents won't have to close themselves off in the Soyuz spacecraft.

An American, an Italian and a Russian are aboard the space station.

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