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Space Junk Misses ISS

RIA Novosti

10:47 24/03/2012

MOSCOW, March 24 (RIA Novosti) - A piece of space debris missed the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday, forcing its crew members to take shelter in rescue craft, NASA said.

The debris "safely passed in front of the ISS," the U.S. space agency wrote on its Twitter account.

The six crew members were given the all clear to return to their normal duties.

NASA said the junk was a leftover from a February 2009 collision involving Russia's defunct military communications satellite Comsos 2251 and the U.S. commercial Iridium spacecraft.

The Soyuz spacecraft are used to ferry crew to and from the ISS, "for either a normal end of mission, or as a "rescue" craft," NASA explained.

Before getting into the capsules, the crew - two Americans, three Russians and a Dutch astronaut - closed all the hatches om the ISS.

NASA said earlier the debris was predicted to pass 14.8 kilometers below the space station.

This is the third time an ISS crew were told to follow the same procedure following similar incidents in 2009 and 2011.

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