Space Station Plays It Safe, Steers Clear of Space Junk

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The International Space Station maneuvered on Sunday night to steer clear of an old satellite, NASA said.

The station fired its onboard thrusters to raise its orbit by a half-mile (1 kilometer) to eliminate the collision risk, the space agency reported Monday.

Experts weren't sure how big the piece of junk was. It's from a Russian weather satellite launched in 1979.

Image: Space station
This view of the International Space Station was captured by the crew of the shuttle Discovery in 2010. NASA file

After the maneuver, it was determined the debris would have posed no threat. NASA said it preferred playing it safe.

Mission Control said the change in the space station's altitude will not affect next week's launch of a new three-man crew from Kazakhstan.

— Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press