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Chinese space debris passes shuttle uneventfully: NASA

by Staff Writers
Houston, Texas (AFP) May 13, 2009
A small piece of debris from China's 2007 anti-satellite test passed by the space shuttle Atlantis, but not close enough to require an evasive maneuver, NASA said Wednesday.

"No action was required," said Pat Ryan, a US space agency spokesman in Mission Control.

The 10-centimeter-long (four-inch) object, which was being tracked by the Pentagon, was projected to pass within three kilometers (1.8 miles) of Atlantis and its crew of seven astronauts about 0030 GMT Thursday.

Shuttle commander Scott Altman and his six fellow astronauts were told of the close pass and to be ready to maneuver out of its way, but that turned out not to be necessary.

The Atlantis crew captured the Hubble Space Telescope earlier Wednesday and hoisted the 19-year-old observatory into the shuttle's cargo bay for an overhaul by spacewalking astronauts.

LeRoy Cain, who chairs NASA's mission management team, said Atlantis could maneuver gently if necessary without damaging the 13.2 meter (43 feet) long telescope.

earlier related report
Atlantis may maneuver to avoid Chinese space debris: NASA
Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis were told Wednesday to be ready to maneuver to avoid a small piece of space debris unleashed by China's 2007 anti-satellite test, NASA said.

"As of now, it does not appear we will have to do anything," said NASA spokesman Rob Navias at the Johnson Space Center.

The 10-centimeter-long (four-inch-long) object, which was being tracked by the Pentagon, was projected to pass within three kilometers (1.8 miles) of Atlantis and its crew of seven astronauts about 0030 GMT Thursday.

The Atlantis crew captured the Hubble Space Telescope earlier Wednesday and hoisted the 19-year-old observatory into the shuttle's cargo bay for an overhaul by spacewalking astronauts.

LeRoy Cain, who chairs NASA's mission management team, said Atlantis could maneuver gently if necesary without damaging the 13.2 meter (43 feet) long telescope.

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Making The Space Environment Safer For Civil And Commercial Users
Washington DC (SPX) May 04, 2009
The House Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing to examine the challenges faced by civil and commercial space users as space traffic and space debris in Earth orbit continue to increase. Subcommittee Members questioned witnesses about potential measures to improve the information available to civil and commercial users to avoid in-space ... read more







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