Space station crew ride out debris cloud threat: NASAThe crew of the International Space Station rode out a threat of collision with a debris cloud in a Soyuz space capsule Thursday in an unusually close encounter that highlighted the dangers of a growing junk pile in space.
"The debris threat to the International Space Station has passed," NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Independent U.S. said in a statement.
The scare arose when the three member crew learned too late to take evasive action Noun 1. evasive action - an action aimed at evading an opponent
evasion - the act of physically escaping from something (an opponent or a pursuer or an unpleasant situation) by some adroit maneuver of an approaching a debris cloud that exposed the space station to a risk of a potentially catastrophic collision.
NASA appeared most concerned about a piece of a satellite motor that was close enough that the space station would ordinarily undertake an evasive maneuver, NASA said.
Laura Rochon, a NASA spokeswoman at the Kennedy Space Center Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral) U.S.
launch site for manned space missions. [U.S. Hist.: WB, So:562]
See : Astronautics in Florida, had said the risk of collision was "very low."
"The piece itself is about one third of an inch and it's about 4.5 kilometers away," she said.
But Mike Fincke, the mission commander, Yuri Lonchakov, the number one flight engineer, and Sandy Magnus, the number two flight engineer, exited the space craft and battened themselves in the Soyuz spacecraft. Fincke and Magnus are Americans and Lonchakov is a Russian.
NASA said the move was a precaution in case the crew needed to detach from the space station, NASA said.
The all-clear was sounded at 12:45 pm EDT EDT
Eastern Daylight Time
EDT Eastern Daylight Time
EDT n abbr (US) (= Eastern Daylight Time) → hora de verano de Nueva York
EDT (1645 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) See UTC.
GMT - Universal Time 1 ) about ten minutes after the crew entered the capsule, the space agency said.
The US Strategic Command notified NASA of the debris field late Wednesday, but NASA said it was too late for flight controllers to coordinate a "debris avoidance" maneuver.
"Every once in a while, the crew has to do orbital debris avoidance maneuvers but this time they didn't do that because we have an upcoming launch possibly on Sunday and they need to stay at the same altitude," Rochon said.
The US Joint Space Operations Center Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) is a command and control (C2) weapon system focused on planning and executing US Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC SPACE) mission. tracks about 18,000 objects in orbit, so many that it has to decide which to follow most closely, like those that might fly by the International Space Station or manned space flights.
Experts estimate that there are more than 300,000 orbital objects measuring between one and 10 centimeters (0.4 and four inches) in diameter and "billions" of smaller pieces.
Traveling at speeds of up to thousands of miles an hour they pose a risk of catastrophic damage to spacecraft.
Last month, a spent Russian satellite collided with an Iridium iridium (ĭrĭd`ēəm), metallic chemical element; symbol Ir; at. no. 77; at. wt. 192.22; m.p. about 2,410°C;; b.p. about 4,130°C;; sp. gr. 22.55 at 20°C;; valence +3 or +4. communications satellite, showering more debris in an orbit 436 kilometers (270 miles) above the space station.
US military trackers failed to anticipate that collision, the first between two intact satellites, the Pentagon said at the time.
The worst debris clouds are in low Earth orbit (communications) low earth orbit - (LEO) The kind of orbit used by communications satellites that will offer high bandwidth for video on demand, television, and Internet communications. (LEO), between 800 and 1,500 kilometers (500 and 950 miles) above the Earth, and in geostationary orbit, about 35,000 kilometers (22,000 miles) up.
In January 2007, China tested an anti-satellite weapon, destroying a disused disused
no longer used
Adj. 1. disused - no longer in use; "obsolete words"
noncurrent - not current or belonging to the present time
disused adj Chinese weather satellite, the Fengyun-1C, creating the largest man-made debris field in history and put 2,378 fragments greater than five centimeters (two inches) in low Earth orbit.