Feeds

ISS crew flees flying space junk

Astros huddle in Russian-built 'lifeboat'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

International Space Station crew members were forced to flee to the outpost's escape capsule briefly on Thursday when a rogue piece of space junk came too close for comfort.

The debris, a discarded mechanism used in boosting a satellite into higher orbit, missed the ISS without incident. The three astronauts took shelter for 11 minutes inside an attached Russian Soyuz module, which serves as the station's lifeboat if needed.

NASA usually steers the ISS clear of space junk, but this time the warning came too late for evasive maneuvers. The debris was classified on Wednesday as posing a low threat of collision with the space station. But refined numbers late Thursday morning placed the object as passing within 2.8 miles of the space station.

The 5-inch chunk of metal is estimated to have passed by the station at nearly 5.5 miles per second (20,000mph).

Crew members were instructed to put the station into unmanned mode and evacuate into the Soyuz capsule at 12:34pm EST. The space debris passed by without collision at 12:39pm.

The station has had to dodge space junk eight times in the eight years the station has been in operation. Crew members have sheltered from debris in a Soyaz as many as five times in the past, NASA said.

The agency said the incident is unrelated to the defunct Russian military satellite colliding with an Iridium telecom satellite in February — although that's certainly going to add to the approximate 17,000 known pieces of orbiting debris larger than 10cm that the ISS will need to dodge in the future. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.