For the fourth time in history, the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) had to temporarily take shelter in their "lifeboat" as a piece of an old weather satellite made its closest approach today at 8:01 am EDT. As a precaution, the three men of Expedition 44 sealed hatches and porthole covers before retreating to the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft docked with the station.
NASA says that Flight Director Ed Van Cise ordered the evacuation this morning as a standard precaution. The fragment passed the ISS without incident and the crew, consisting of Commander Gennady Padalka, and One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, have reconfigured the station for normal operations. They have returned to their normal work schedule, and report that all systems are operating normally.
The debris is allegedly a fragment of the a Meteor-2 weather satellite that was launched by the USSR in 1979. A previous encounter with orbital debris in 2014 required maneuvering the ISS a safe distance from the hazard.