Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Missed it by that much" space debris has lousy aim.

Tracking data now indicates that a piece of orbital debris being monitored by Mission Control Houston will not pass close enough to the International Space Station to warrant the Expedition 27 crew members taking safe haven within their Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft.

Mission Control gave the crew the all-clear at 2:41 p.m. EDT as the space station orbited 220 miles above eastern Asia.

Flight controllers have been monitoring the debris from the Chinese FENGYUN 1C satellite since early this morning, and informed Commander Dmitry Kondratyev at 7:01 a..m. EDT that the station crew would need to begin the shelter procedures if it remained on track.

The time of closest approach was at 4:21 p.m. EDT.

For more information about orbital debris and how the International Space Station team tracks and responds to threats, visit:

Space Junk threatens Space Station

(CNN) -- NASA is monitoring a piece of space junk that could come close enough to collide with the International Space Station, a spokesman for the space agency said Tuesday.

Plans are being made for the station's crew of three to take shelter in the Russian Soyuz capsule if necessary, Kelly Humphries said.
The junk is a piece of a Chinese satellite that was destroyed in 2007. It is expected to be near the space station at 4:21 p.m. ET.

A decision will be made around 3 p.m. whether the crew will need to seek safety aboard the Soyuz.

The current space station team is made up of NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli.


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