Mar 16, 2009
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) may have to maneuver the station to evade flying junk as the space shuttle Discovery closes in for docking. The warning comes just four days after the crew was forced to take refuge in an escape capsule as a last-minute risk of debris strike was discovered.
Like last week's chunk of debris, which passed without incident as the three ISS members huddled in the station's Soyuz capsule, tomorrow's threatening object is not related to last month's collision between a Russian satellite and a commercial communications satellite.
Mar 12, 2009
Astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) took refuge in a Soyuz escape capsule as a threatening piece of debris passed by without incident today, NASA announced. The 13-centimeter (five-inch) piece of debris, which made its closest approach at 12:39 P.M. (Eastern Daylight Time), originated from a 1993 launch and was not related to last month's satellite crash, says Gene Stansbery, orbital debris program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
According to the NASA Web site, the precautionary measure was necessary because notice of the approach came too late to perform an evasive maneuver. The object's relatively small size and highly elliptical orbit made it difficult to track, Stansbery says. He could not provide a quantitative assessment of the level of risk faced by the ISS.
Feb 19, 2009 | 1
Think garbage is a problem on the ground? Out-of-this-world solutions may be needed to get rid of the growing swarm of space trash, including debris from last week's smashup between a Russian and a U.S. satellite.
That's the word from this week's meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the Associated Press reports. Among the possible remedies floating around the Vienna confab: giving orbital debris parachute-like balloons that would increase their atmospheric drag and pull them back to Earth faster or attaching a 10-mile (16-kilometer) electrodynamic tether to a piece of circling junk that would allow technicians to control its descent.
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