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The U.S. space agency is monitoring a piece of space junk that could impact the ISS

NASA is now monitoring a piece of space trash that may force a shift in position for the International Space Station and shuttle Discovery, which is currently docked at the ISS.

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 evening.

"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 instructions.

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.

Aside from manned shuttles and the ISS, the U.S. government is concerned about space junk hitting communication and spy satellites. 



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Ummm..
By Cheesew1z69 on 9/3/2009 8:28:52 AM , Rating: 2
Closest it will be is 6.2 miles and they think they have to move it? Um, 6 miles? ....




RE: Ummm..
By marvdmartian on 9/3/2009 9:40:17 AM , Rating: 3
Maybe it's because they're used to dealing with longer distances, and 6 miles seems really too close for comfort?

No matter....not the first time they've watched a close flying piece of junk, and certainly not the last. Just glad they're paying attention, since "surprise! you've got a hole in your space station!!" would definitely NOT be cool!


RE: Ummm..
By nafhan on 9/3/2009 9:53:55 AM , Rating: 4
ISS is traveling at orbital velocities (about 17,000 mph)... 6 miles is pretty close when you're going that fast.


RE: Ummm..
By JustKidding on 9/3/2009 10:59:44 AM , Rating: 5
Just remember the two second rule. 17,000 mph is about 4.72 miles per second. Two seconds is about 9.44 miles. They are clearly following the space junk too closely. If they are only 6.2 miles apart when they pass a spy satellite camera they should promptly be mailed a ticket. I'll bet they have one of those loud exhausts and an even louder stereo. Bunch of hooligans! *grumble grumble*


RE: Ummm..
By JediJeb on 9/3/2009 12:11:09 PM , Rating: 2
I guess it would depend on how accurately the tragectories have been plotted. If there is a +/- 5 mile error then that would possibly put it very close, or very far away. Also if say a micrometorite was to hit the space junk it could shift its trajectory enough for a hit on the ISS so better to have as wide a safety zone as possible.


RE: Ummm..
By Smartless on 9/3/2009 3:18:48 PM , Rating: 2
The linked article has been updated I guess. They know its fairly big, something like 204 sq ft in area on an elliptical orbit making it harder to calculate. Like you said, so many unknowns. Now they say its going to pass within 3 km.


Junk
By Machinegear on 9/3/2009 8:10:54 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
NASA Monitoring Space Junk; May Need to Move ISS


When I first read the title I thought Space Junk referred to ISS. Of course, it is not. However, my mind is always looking for irony I guess.




Need a garbage collector
By tygrus on 9/3/2009 6:03:40 PM , Rating: 2
Need bring down or collect the space junk to reduce it. Could mount a aerogel collector (like a deflector at a distance).

They could send up a satellite like a bigger Stardust dust collector with aerogel to sweep slices of the sky. "It won't happen over night, but it will happen".

You need a bigger & heavier object with layers to hit larger objects to slow them down and deflect them into an orbit to burn up. The problem is there is so many low orbit satellites you need to miss and do they still crash debris into us on the ground/water/air.




RE: Need a garbage collector
By eddieroolz on 9/3/2009 6:48:07 PM , Rating: 3
I have a perfect proposal:

LAZERS!!! pewpewpew :D

Let's vaporize the junk!


Interesting.....
By Cheesew1z69 on 9/3/2009 9:25:06 AM , Rating: 2
From CNN

By 10:06 a.m. ET Friday, the debris will be moving within 3 km (1.8 miles) of the space station, the agency said.

Which is it?




Not the first time
By Shadowself on 9/3/2009 9:46:21 AM , Rating: 2
This is not the first time they've had to move it. It won't be the last. This is almost a routine thing now.

Better that than what happened with the Iridium/Russian satellite encounter.




Yea, why move it?
By aguilpa1 on 9/3/2009 2:12:54 PM , Rating: 2
Unless the piece of junk is larger than 6.2mi in diameter it shouldn't be a problem.




Space: The Final Frontier
By the3monkies on 9/4/2009 2:22:32 AM , Rating: 2
The universe is a big place; if the human race is serious about turning it into one vast junk yard we better get a move on!




New Space Team
By username21 on 9/3/2009 8:30:42 AM , Rating: 1
So I guess that means we'll be seeing the half division soon. (I wonder who can catch that reference)




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