Space debris scare sees ISS crew take shelter in Soyuz vehicle

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During the early hours of July 16 (8:01 a.m. EDT), mission control anticipated a possible close approach of space debris from an old satellite and as a precautionary measure asked the Expedition 44 crew to take shelter in Soyuz vehicle.

ISS mission Control in Houston tracked a fragment of an old Russian weather satellite and predicted a possible conjunction with the station at 8:01 a.m. EDT. Flight Director Ed Van Cise asked Commander Gennady Padalka and One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko to take shelter in their docked Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft as a precaution.

Fortunately the remnant of the weather satellite made a close pass by. Mission control then gave the all clear and revealed that all systems are operating normally. Once the astronauts were back in the ISS, they reconfigured the station for normal operations and then continued their research work during the day.

Back on Earth, three new Expedition 44 crew members from the U.S., Russia and Japan are counting down to their July 22 launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft. The trio consisting of Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui are at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for final prelaunch activities while engineers inspect their Soyuz vehicle before next week’s roll out to the launch pad.