ISS Crew Dodges Space Debris

Six international astronauts sent into pods for safety
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 28, 2011 10:45 AM CDT
International Space Station: Crew Boards Escape Pods Because of Space Debris
This May 23, 2011 photo made by Expedition 27 crew member Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 following its undocking and released by NASA shows the International Space Station and the docked space shuttle Endeavour, left, at an altitude of approximately 220 miles. A Soyuz capsule had never headed for...   (AP Photo/NASA, Paolo Nespoli)

Russian Mission Control says the International Space Station's crew has briefly taken seats in escape capsules due to a close encounter with space debris. The six crewmen spent about half an hour today in two Soyuz escape capsules docked at the station before the space junk passed by without jeopardizing the station, a Mission Control spokesman said.

The station periodically faces close encounters with debris, and engineers normally adjust the station's orbit to reduce the probability of impact. If monitors fail to spot the space junk in time to perform the maneuver, the crew is ordered to board the capsules. The station is manned by Americans Michael Fossum and Ronald Garan Jr., Russians Sergey Volkov, Andrei Borisenko and Alexander Samokutayev and Japanese citizen Satoshi Furukawa. (Click to read more about the International Space Station's current crew.)

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