NASA says space station safe from orbiting junk

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA says the international space station is safe from an orbiting piece of satellite junk and does not need to move out of the way.

Mission Control assured station commander Mike Fincke on Monday evening that the debris would remain at a safe distance from the space station. Earlier in the day, experts warned the piece of junk might come within a half-mile of the outpost, and that the station might need to steer away.

Space shuttle Discovery is closing in on the space station for a linkup today.

The piece of junk being tracked is about four inches in size and comes from a Russian satellite that broke up in 1981.

Last Thursday, the three space station residents briefly took refuge in their emergency getaway capsule because of another piece of space junk that came too close.

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