On Thursday, July 16, 2015, a piece of space junk forced the three worldwide Space Station astronauts, including Kelly, to seek emergency shelter in their Soyuz spacecraft docked to the station, in case they had to make a quick getaway.
“Mission Control in Houston tracked a fragment of an old weather satellite and predicted a possible conjunction with the station at 8:01 a.m. EDT”.
The “all clear” has been given after the crew of the global Space Station had to briefly take precautions against an anticipated close approach of space debris. Normally, the ISS would get a bigger heads-up about incoming space debris.
The three men were already up and working when Mission Control ordered them into the Soyuz on Thursday morning.
They will reconfigure the station for normal operations and then continue their research work during the day. Usually, the crew is composed of six astronauts at any given time.
Thankfully, the debris flew past the station and no harm was done.
“The piece of Russian satellite debris has safely passed @Space_Station”.
The ISS is manned by three astronauts: Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienk, and Genaddy Padalka.
NASA believe there are some half-a-million pieces of debris that could pose a threat to their crew’s spacecrafts.
The Russian Interfax news agency quoted a source in the space industry saying that the debris came from the Soviet meteorological satellite, Meteor-2, which was launched from Russian spaceport, Plesetsk cosmodrome in 1979. As more and more space junk accumulate, the more risky the situation in near-Earth orbit becomes. Some of this debris is only 2 inches across, but because it travels at speeds of up to 17,500 miles per hour, it can do real damage to anything in its path.
It turns out that space junk is at an all-time high.