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Space Debris

April 16, 2008 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
A successful Chinese missile test last year that destroyed one of China's own aging satellites has substantially added to space debris around Earth, increasing the danger that a chain reaction of colliding space junk could threaten parts of the world's satellite network, scientists said Tuesday.
July 24, 2007 | From the Associated Press
A spacewalking astronaut did some major housecleaning Monday at the International Space Station, tossing out a camera mounting and an ammonia tank weighing more than half a ton. The outdated equipment joined more than 9,000 pieces of orbital debris already being tracked from Earth. "I'll be sending my bill in the mail for trash disposal," Clayton Anderson joked to Mission Control. Anderson hurled the 1,400-pound, refrigerator-size ammonia tank away from the station with a shove.
June 2, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Two Russian cosmonauts climbed out of the International Space Station on Wednesday to install panels designed to shield the orbiting outpost from space debris. Space debris includes objects such as discarded rocket parts, planetary dust and rocks.
January 5, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
A spent Russian booster rocket reentered the atmosphere over Wyoming and Colorado, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said. Witnesses reported seeing flaming objects in the sky at the time the rocket was reentering, NORAD spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Sean Kelly said. A Wyoming state trooper found a large burned spot in the snow beside a highway but no debris. "It was pretty spectacular," said Riverton Police Capt.
October 6, 2006 | From Reuters
A piece of space debris punched a small hole in one of the space shuttle Atlantis' radiator panels during its recent 12-day spaceflight, NASA said Thursday. Damage from debris has been NASA's top safety issue since the destruction of the shuttle Columbia in February 2003, when insulating foam came off the ship's fuel tank during launch and punched a hole in the shuttle's heat shield.
September 21, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
NASA officials on Wednesday cleared the space shuttle Atlantis to land this morning, after final inspections of the spacecraft's skin turned up no evidence of damage from space debris. "We are cleared for entry," said shuttle program manager N. Wayne Hale Jr. "Nothing was found to be missing or damaged." Atlantis had been scheduled to land Wednesday, after a 12-day mission that included three spacewalks to install a truss and a set of solar arrays on the International Space Station.
August 17, 2004 | Jia-Rui Chong, Times Staff Writer
Hovering 4,000 feet above brown salt flats in Utah, Hollywood stunt pilot Cliff Fleming and a cabin full of NASA contractors scanned for any sparkle in the sky. The payload master pointed to the top of the helicopter's windshield. "Tallyho! Tallyho!" Fleming hollered. Fleming makes his living as a movie pilot. He has swooped after sky surfers in the action movie "XXX" and towed actor Pierce Brosnan through the air in "Dante's Peak."
July 24, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Another meteorite from Mars has been discovered in Antarctica, one of only about 30 known Martian space rocks on Earth. What makes this rock special is its comparatively large size, said Timothy J. McCoy, curator of meteorites at the Smithsonian Institution. "It's a 700-gram rock [about 1 1/2 pounds] but by meteorite standards it's a mountain of material," he said.
March 13, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Beagle 2, the British space probe that disappeared as it descended toward Mars, may have been spotted on the surface of the Red Planet. No signal has been received from the craft since it was due to land on Christmas Day. Satellite images of the area where Beagle 2 was to have come down show four bright spots, which may be the remains of the probe.
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