Imagine you’re doing routine repairs of the newest, most sensitive telescope, orbiting in low-earth orbit near the International Space Station (ISS). You’ve just reached this new level of Buddha-esque calm and detachment from the world below, which spins below you in pristine, eternal perfection. Surviving the onslaught of hundreds of particles of space debris is the last thing on your mind.
ISS IN CHAOS
Suddenly you feel a strong, low vibration coming out of the telescope, and your visor lights up. Above you half the telescope has been sheared away by something flying by very, very quickly. You detach from the spinning junk lense and push off, turning around to return to the ISS. You dodge a few extra globules of metallic blur on your way to the airlock, and just as you close it behind you, you catch white, blue and red rectangles zapping by the window. You recognize that pattern. You turn around to your fellow cosmonaut, and he’s floating there with arms raised, palms flat, and says in a deep, accented English: “it’s Russian, eh?”
THIS ISN’T HOW SANDRA BULLOCK OUTLIVED GEORGE CLOONEY
No really, the crew of the ISS recently received permission to re-enter the space station proper after having to take shelter from the throes of passing space debris. This started less than two hours after a live interview with WDRB news Thursday morning, NASA made an announcement explaining that the crew had just taken shelter in a capsule called the Soyuz, presently docked with the station. This was done as a precautionary measure in the unlikely event that the passing space debris from Russian satellites did enough damage to necessitate that the crew make an emergency return to Earth.
The debris was predicted to come closest to striking and chewing the station into pieces at about eight a.m. this morning, NYC time.
AFTER THE BULLET-quick DEBRIS PASSED
Very little time passed before NASA announced an “all clear,” for the crew to the media. More specifically, they said that the crew of the ISS had returned to normal operations following permission to do so at just after seven a.m., central standard time.NASA continued, “All station systems are operating normally and the crew will move out of the Soyuz spacecraft in which they stayed during the space debris pass. They will reconfigure the station for normal operations and then continue their research work during the day.”
In fact, this is the fourth time since ISS was completed that the crew had to take such extreme shelter. Let’s assume they are breathing a long sigh of relief up there.