A piece of an old Soviet-era satellite spinning through space could threaten the International Space Station overnight, NASA said Monday.
On its current course, the piece of the Russian Kosmos 1275 will arrive about a half a mile (.79 kilometers) from the space station at 2:14 a.m. CDT Tuesday, said Bill Jeffs, a spokesman at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. NASA may decide to conduct a “debris avoidance maneuver,” which involves firing rockets so that the space station moves in a direction away from the debris’ path, Jeffs said. Officials were monitoring the debris closely and planned to decide by 6 p.m. whether to carry out the maneuver. Jeffs said the dimensions of the satellite debris are not known.
Space shuttle Discovery launches after repairs
Space station has close call with orbiting junk
Three people are on the space station, astronauts Mike Fincke and Sandy Magnus and cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov .
Last week, a piece of debris forced the crew to take shelter in its escape capsule, a rare close call for the orbiting platform, NASA said. iReport.com: See, share your photos of launches and space That object, a chunk of metal from a satellite rocket motor used on an earlier space mission, was about 5 inches across and moved at nearly 20,000 mph. It passed within 3 miles of the station early Thursday afternoon.