Chinese Satellite Debris Gives Space Station Crew A Fright
A potential collision with a piece of debris from a Chinese satellite forced the International Space Station and its three residents to be on red-level alert earlier Tuesday.
NASA said flight controllers had been monitoring the debris since morning. Because not enough time was available to steer the station out of the way, crew members for a few hours were on standby to take shelter in their Soyuz capsule, which was attached to the station and could fly them back to Earth. But officials issued an all-clear around noon PDT.
The junk made its closest pass at 1:21 p.m., at least 3.5 miles from station, according to the agency.
The crew members--Dmitry Kondratyev of Russia, Paolo Nespoli of Italy and Catherine Coleman of the U.S.-- arrived at the station in December. They became the orbiting laboratory's only residents in March when another trio departed back to Earth.
Three new residents are due at the station Wednesday to complete the six-member crew.