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Space station sidesteps satellite debris

Space station sidesteps satellite debris

The Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, is loaded with 5,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station. (AP Photo/NASA, Joel Kowsky)
The Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, is loaded with 5,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station. (AP Photo/NASA, Joel Kowsky)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A space station delivery mission was called off Monday, just hours after the orbiting lab had to sidestep a piece of treacherous junk.

Orbital Sciences Corp. got to within the 10-minute mark for the Virginia launch of its unmanned Cygnus capsule. But a sailboat ended up in the restricted danger zone, and controllers halted the evening countdown.

The Virginia-based company will try again Tuesday evening.

Early Wednesday afternoon, space station flight controllers steered the complex and its six inhabitants away from satellite wreckage. The debris — part of an old, destroyed Russian satellite — would have passed within two-tenths of a mile of the station if not for the maneuver.

Mission Control was informed of the space junk during the weekend. It is wreckage from a Kosmos satellite that was launched in 1993 and collided with an Iridium spacecraft in 2009.

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October 28, 2014


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