ISS Astronauts Take Shelter in Soyuz Spacecraft During a Gravity-Style Space Debris Scare

Thursday, 16 July 2015 - 3:05PM
NASA
Thursday, 16 July 2015 - 3:05PM
ISS Astronauts Take Shelter in Soyuz Spacecraft During a Gravity-Style Space Debris Scare
ISS astronauts were forced to seek emergency shelter in a Soyuz spacecraft today, when an unexpected wave of space debris approached the station. The astronauts were soon returned safely back to the space station, but in a scene reminiscent of the movie Gravity, the astronauts were sent scrambling after data appeared to confirm the approach of an unexpected debris storm.

Opening quote
"The crew of the International Space Station is resuming normal operations after getting an all clear from Mission Control following a close pass by space debris this morning at 7:01 a.m. CDT," said a NASA statement. "All station systems are operating normally and the crew will move out of the Soyuz spacecraft in which they stayed during the debris pass."
Closing quote

According to reports, the unexpected debris originated from an old soviet era satellite 'Meteor-2', which launched back in 1979, although quite how it managed to take both NASA and Roscosmos monitors by surprise is yet to be confirmed.

Normally, the International Space Station is able to maneuver itself out of the way of incoming debris, but the unexpected nature of this particular event meant that emergency measures had to be taken. "The data on the debris appeared unexpectedly, there was no time to sustain the operation of ISS orbit adjustment," said a Russian Mission Control Center spokesman

While ISS debris maneuvers aren't completely uncommon –the happen around once a year– this is just the fourth time in the station's history that astronauts have had to take emergency cover. 

At present, there are just three astronauts on the orbiting space station; NASA's Mike Kelly and Russian Cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka will be joined by three more astronauts who are expected to blast off next Wednesday.
Science
Space
NASA

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