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Space station dodges junk from old satellite

A resupply launch of a Cygnus rocket was delayedJOEL KOWSKY/NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The international space station sidestepped a piece of treacherous junk Monday just hours before the scheduled launch of a supply ship from Virginia.

NASA said debris from an old, wrecked Russian satellite would have come dangerously close to the orbiting lab — just two-tenths of a mile — if not for the move.

The space station was maneuvered well out of harm’s way to keep the outpost and its six inhabitants safe.

Mission Control was informed of the space junk over the weekend. It is wreckage from a Kosmos satellite that was launched in 1993 and collided with an Iridium spacecraft in 2009.


Mission Control had said the space station’s relocation would not affect Monday evening’s launch of a commercial supply ship, but the countdown was halted after a sailboat entered the restricted danger zone around the launchpad in Wallops Island, Va. The launch was rescheduled for Tuesday.

Orbital Sciences Corp.’s unmanned Cygnus capsule holds 5,000 pounds of cargo for NASA.

Associated Press