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Space Debris No Threat to Station

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Apr 6, 2011 7:26 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 27 crew members aboard the International Space Station did not need to take shelter in their Soyuz spacecraft when a piece of debris from a Chinese satellite made its closest pass at 4:21 p.m. EDT Tuesday, at least 3.5 miles (6 kilometers) from the station.

Mission Control Center gave the crew the all-clear at 2:41 p.m. as the space station orbited 220 miles above eastern Asia.

Flight controllers had been monitoring the debris from the Chinese FENGYUN 1C satellite since early Tuesday morning. Because there was not enough time to steer the station out of the way, as was done Friday for a different piece of debris, the crew would have been asked to shelter inside the Soyuz TMA-20 that brought them up to the station in December had it become necessary.

For more information about orbital debris and how the International Space Station team tracks and responds to threats, visit:

After the all-clear, the Expedition 27 crew – Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Flight Engineers Cady Coleman and Paolo Nespoli – resumed a normal schedule.

Earlier Tuesday, Nespoli prepared tools and equipment needed for the spacewalks that the STS-134 crew will conduct when space shuttle Endeavour visits the station for the final time in May.

Coleman also prepared for STS-134 as she rehearsed the robotics work she will conduct during the mission’s spacewalks.

Kondratyev checked out part of the Ku-band video system as he prepared the Russian segment of the station for the arrival of three additional flight engineers. NASA astronaut Ron Garan and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev are scheduled to dock their Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft to the Poisk module at 7:18 p.m. Wednesday, bringing the Expedition 27 crew to its full six-member complement.

The trio launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:18 p.m. EDT Monday (4:18 a.m. Tuesday, Kazakhstan time). Their Soyuz, named for Yuri Gagarin, lifted off just one week shy of the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s historic journey into space from that same launch pad at Baikonur.

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