ISS astronauts dodge Russian space debris

2015-07-16 18:56
The International Space Station has a radiator leak in its power system that the commander calls serious, but not life-threatening. (Paolo Nespoli, Nasa, AP)

The International Space Station has a radiator leak in its power system that the commander calls serious, but not life-threatening. (Paolo Nespoli, Nasa, AP)

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Miami - Three astronauts living at the International Space Station were forced to scramble to safety after what Nasa described as a "close pass" by a piece of flying Russian space debris on Thursday.

The men moved into the Soyuz spacecraft, which is attached to the orbiting station, while the chunk of an old Russian weather satellite sped by at 08:01 (12:01 GMT), the US space agency said.

"The crew of the International Space Station is resuming normal operations after getting an all clear from Mission Control following a close pass by space debris this morning," Nasa said in a statement.

"All station systems are operating normally and the crew will move out of the Soyuz spacecraft in which they stayed during the debris pass."

The crew on board includes Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko and American astronaut Scott Kelly.

Nasa said this marked the fourth time in the history of the space station that astronauts moved briefly into a Soyuz to avoid passing debris.

The Soyuz is the capsule that transports astronauts to and from the space station.

Earlier, the Russian Interfax news agency quoted a source in the space industry as saying "the likelihood of an object colliding with the station exceeds the acceptable level."

The information came from US space monitors "very late, so the ISS does not have time to do an avoidance manoeuvre," the source added.

The same source said the space junk was a fragment of the Soviet meteorological satellite, Meteor-2, which was launched from Plesetsk cosmodrome in 1979.

Read more on:    nasa  |  iss  |  us  |  russia  |  space

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