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National Briefing / Florida

Space station out of debris danger

March 17, 2009|Times Wire Reports

NASA gave the all-clear to the International Space Station, telling astronauts they would not need to steer away from a piece of satellite junk.

Cape Canaveral experts had at one point believed that the debris might pass within a half-mile of the station today, just ahead of the shuttle Discovery's arrival. But as they studied the path of the small debris from an old Soviet satellite, engineers ascertained it would remain at a safe distance.

A maneuver by the station would have forced Discovery to adjust its course for docking.

On Thursday, the three space station residents had to flee to their emergency getaway capsule because another piece of space junk came uncomfortably close. In that case, the astronauts did not have enough time to steer out of the way.

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