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International Space Station at risk of debris hit

Sep 27 () : Officials of ISS, the International Space Station are carefully watching the two pieces of debris that are giving impact threats. NASA said the debris from an old Russian satellite, COSMOS 2251 and debris of an Indian rocket may come very close to space station on Thursday.

NASA said on Wednesday if necessary, the space station would be moved on Thursday morning. The manoeuvre may be out of pathway of approaching space junk in a tentatively planned special operation.

If done, the manoeuvre would be completed using ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle ATV “Edoardo Amadi.” On Tuesday night, ATV was planned to undock, but a communications malfunction forced the engineers to postpone the parting.

Both the pieces of space junk are edging inside the zone called “red zone.” The time of its closest approach worked out to occur is at 10:42 a.m. ET on Thursday. It is unknown how big the debris is.

NASA said there are three crew members inside the ISS and they are in no danger and the crew is continuing its work on routine maintenance and scientific research. The crew includes NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

If manoeuvre is required — NASA said that it could be called at any time — mostly it would happen on Thursday at 8:12 a.m. ET is using engines on ATV, which remains docked to Zvezda service module of the station. It usually needs 30 hours to verify and plan for the need for avoidance manoeuvre.

If there is no time to do an avoidance manoeuvre, the astronauts of the space station may be warned to take accommodation in the Soyuz vehicles. On March 24, a similar incident happened, but threatening object passed by without incident.

The Cosmos 2251 Russian military spy orbiter was launched in 1993 and was decommissioned after two years. In 2009 February, the debris of the satellite collided into Iridium-33 satellite of US, which is the first space accident of this kind. This collision created many smaller fragments that are still posing impact threats to other satellites and the space station.