Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shell Of Space Crap Could Keep Us Earthbound

ISS crew take to escape capsules in space junk alert

"The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) briefly took refuge in escape capsules as a piece of space junk drifted nearby.

The debris - a discarded piece of Russian rocket - was detected on Friday when it was too late to move the ISS.

Nasa said the debris was barely close enough to be a threat but that precautionary measures had to be taken.

It is the third time in 12 years that the ISS has faced a possible collision with space junk.

In June, a piece of debris came within 335m (1,100ft) of the platform.

The ISS is currently manned by three Russians, two Americans and one Dutch astronaut.

They were ordered by ground control to move into two Soyuz escape capsules in case the station was hit, but a Nasa spokesman said they were given the green light to return to the main station at 0238 GMT on Saturday.

The "sheltering exercise" was carried out with "due diligence and in a very precautionary and conservative fashion", said the unnamed spokesman.

"Everything went by the book and as expected, the small piece of cosmos satellite debris passed the international space station without incident."

Russia's space agency said the debris had passed the station at a distance of 23km (14 miles).

"The cosmonauts have returned to performing their previously assigned work," an official told Interfax news agency."


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