An old piece of metal from the Ariane 5 rocket body will
fly by the ISS sometime on Friday, with it reaching its closest point
just 6.2 miles away from the ISS. The size of the space junk
remains unknown, though a decision will be made later this
"We may not
have to do any maneuver," NASA spokesperson Rob Navias said
during a press conference. "We will be analyzing the data
and watching this object closely over the next 24 hours before any
decision will have to be made."
Discovery Commander Rick
Sturckow and others currently working aboard the ISS have been
informed of the piece of space junk, and are awaiting further
The issue of space junk is a popular topic among
space experts, as there has been a dramatic increase in space junk
floating dangerously close to the ISS. Earlier in the year, the
U.S. Air Force set aside up to $500 million that can be used over the
next year to monitor trash that orbits Earth.
manned shuttles and the ISS, the U.S. government is concerned about
hitting communication and spy satellites.