Space

Space station crew takes shelter as debris passes

Space station crew takes shelt...
The ISS was threatened by the passage of a fragment from an old Russian weather satellite
The ISS was threatened by the passage of a fragment from an old Russian weather satellite
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The ISS crew took shelter in a Soyuz space capsule similar to Soyuz TMA-15M, seen here
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The ISS crew took shelter in a Soyuz space capsule similar to Soyuz TMA-15M, seen here
The ISS was threatened by the passage of a fragment from an old Russian weather satellite
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The ISS was threatened by the passage of a fragment from an old Russian weather satellite
A model of a Meteor-2 satellite
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A model of a Meteor-2 satellite
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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.

Source: NASA

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3 comments
Wolf0579
Who was it that shot up their own "weather" satellite? The Russians or the Chinese? I was wondering where this fragment of debris came from, perhaps that satellite that was deliberately destroyed? There should be serious, serious fines for space littering on that scale. Huge KUDOS to ESA for trying to clean up the neighborhood.
HappyPhil
In answer to your question Wolf0579, in 2009 a defunct Russian military communications satellite crashed into an Iridium satellite phone satellite and in the years since then, a few pieces of the debris have come within a few kilometers of the ISS.
Kevin Ritchey
I've always dreamed of creating an orbital "vacuum cleaner" that would cruise around the Earth cleaning the debris that humankind has carelessly deposited everywhere, at every level of orbit. Finally someone is fulfilling my wish. If only it was mine doing the task. Oh well. Shit happens and then you die.