Space junk sends station astronauts in capsules docked

Space junk sends station astronauts in capsules docked

Cape Canaveral, Florida. The space junk of the seven astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Monday threatened and forced them to seek refuge in capsules from docked.

The US Space Command said it was tracking a field orbiting the debris, apparently as a result of some kind of space disintegration.

The astronauts slipped into the capsules from docked early Monday, after being asked by the threat at the last minute. Mission Control had them close the hatches between the space station compartments again later in the day, as a precaution.

“We are actively working to characterize the debris field and will continue to ensure that all space-faring nations have the information needed to maneuver satellites should they be affected,” the Space Command said in a statement.

NASA officials did not provide any immediate comment.

The Russian space agency said via Twitter that the astronauts were ordered to enter their capsules, which were docked earlier in the day, in case they had to make a quick flight. Subsequently, the crew was “performing routine operations,” the agency noted.

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“Friends, everything is regular with us!” The commander of the Russian International Space Station, Anton Shkaplerov, tweeted.

But a cloud of debris seemed to pose a danger to each orbital passage. The mission control informed the crew who was expected to approach it to the last seven minutes, and had them interrupt scientific research once again to take safety precautions.

Some 20,000 pieces of space junk are being traced. Including old and broken satellites. Last week, a portion of an old Chinese satellite – the target of a 2007 strike missile test – came uncomfortably close. While it later turned out that there was a threat, the NASA space station was moving anyway.

The International Space Station is currently home to four Americans, one German and two Russians.

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