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Still more space debris! March 16, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Uncategorized.
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(From CNN) A piece of an old Soviet-era satellite spinning through space could threaten the International Space Station overnight, NASA said Monday. On its current course, the piece of the Russian Kosmos 1275 will arrive about a half a mile (.79 kilometers) from the space station at 2:14 a.m. CDT Tuesday, said Bill Jeffs, a spokesman at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

NASA may decide to conduct a “debris avoidance maneuver,” which involves firing rockets so that the space station moves in a direction away from the debris’ path, Jeffs said. Officials were monitoring the debris closely and planned to decide by 6 p.m. whether to carry out the maneuver.Jeffs said the dimensions of the satellite debris are not known.

Three people are on the space station, astronauts Mike Fincke and Sandy Magnus and cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov .

Last week, a piece of debris forced the crew to take shelter in its escape capsule, a rare close call for the orbiting platform, NASA said.