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NASA: "Unknown piece of space debris of unknown size" buzzes ISS, crews shelter in Soyuzes

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posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:24 AM
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NASA: "Unknown piece of space debris of unknown size" buzzes ISS, crews shelter in Soyuzes

Just ended a live special broadcast from NASA's Rob Navias about the six astronauts taking shelter inside Soyuz vehicles as an unknown object of unknown size that just was discovered a few hours ago passed within a predicted 250 meters of the station at 8:08 AM EDT. Apparently it did not make contact and the crew is resuming their daily activities.

The event was blogged live at this amateur website:
forum.nasaspaceflight.com...

Navias calls it an "nnknown piece of space debris of unknown size", which seems a reasonable guess, but there's no explanation of how it snuck in so close without being noticed earlier. More details will follow.

ADD: No reports that the crew saw anything, which isn't unusual for high-speed fly-bys of 'space debris'. The stuff they usually see and/or videotape floating around outside are explained as stuff coming off or out of their own vehicle, NOT independent 'space debris' on fast collision courses.






edit on 28-6-2011 by JimOberg because: add




posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:27 AM
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reply to post by JimOberg
 




Navias calls it an "nnknown piece of space debris of unknown size", which seems a reasonable guess


That doesn't seem reasonable at all actually.



there's no explanation of how it snuck in so close without being noticed earlier


That's a bit concerning.

They're usually pretty spot on with spotting debris, I guess they can't spot every piece out there though...



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:35 AM
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I'm surprised we haven't heard of more incidents. Figure if the station is orbiting around the globe at over 25 thousand miles an hour and an object is in an opposite-trajectory orbit going over 20k mph, I'd think it hard to imagine there being time to see it let alone plan ahead for it.



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:35 AM
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Originally posted by Chadwickus



there's no explanation of how it snuck in so close without being noticed earlier


That's a bit concerning.

They're usually pretty spot on with spotting debris, I guess they can't spot every piece out there though...


Some pieces of debris are catalogued but have higher-than usual uncertainty in predicting future trajectory because they are experiencing a lot of air drag but have shapes that create highly variable drag based on which way they are tumbling. Also, the upper atmosphere itself varies in density depending on local effects of solar energy input, also not easily predicted. And if the object is in an ellpitical orbit with low perigee and high apogee, it often isn't tracked all that often or all that precisely. We'll see how this story pans out, but it underscores WHY Mission Control (both houston and Moscow) remains on hair trigger for unusual outside objects, seen on radar or camera or eyeball, first as a safety issue (collision), then as a reliability issue (could be signs of vehicle malfunction like a thruster leak or insulation shedding), and then as curiosity (what the heck is THAT?). Plenty of rational reasons to carefully watch 'stuff' out the windows and on cameras, without having to think 'aliens!' every time.

Meantime, this object remains genuinely unidentified.



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:36 AM
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reply to post by Chadwickus
 


I agree, very concerning indeed. You would think they would of anticipated this thing getting so dangerously close with all the tech they have floating around up there.

I reckon theres probably more to this story than what we are being told...



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:36 AM
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soooo. Sounds odd to me, so many unknowns coming frmo the experts. I would think that as soon as they becasme aware of it they would be able to know its size. I am wondering if it isnt a cover for something else, what else would they enter the Soyuz vehicles for? I tried googling but couldnt come up with many details. Are the Soyuz vehicles better equipped to handle certain types of radiation than the ISS? or was this article from when the asteroid made its close approach?



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:39 AM
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Originally posted by TXRabbit
I'm surprised we haven't heard of more incidents. Figure if the station is orbiting around the globe at over 25 thousand miles an hour and an object is in an opposite-trajectory orbit going over 20k mph, I'd think it hard to imagine there being time to see it let alone plan ahead for it.


Imagine the impact of that scenario, they are brave people up there....



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:39 AM
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Maybe yesterdays meteor dropped it off..



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:40 AM
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reply to post by Chadwickus
 



The degree of 'buttoning up' seems to be still under discussion in recent months, so I'm presuming the hatches are not fully closed and dogged down. The volume of the station gives plenty of time to complete isolation if there actually is a hit causing an air leak. Much more likely than that is a solar array hit causing annoyance. MOST likely is nothing at all happens.
Same Link

I thought it was interesting that they acknowledge a solar array causing annoyance...probably common knowledge to most people...but it seemed interesting that they would acknowledge that as more of a threat than space debris as a culprit.

You would think space debris would be a pretty common bullet to dodge for the ISS but apparently there is still a few peices that sneak in and cause some concern for them anyway...interesting for sure. I am going to have to check out this "buttoning up" procedure and get a little more "knowed up" on what that means.



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:40 AM
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Originally posted by chrissiel123
soooo. Sounds odd to me, so many unknowns coming frmo the experts. I would think that as soon as they becasme aware of it they would be able to know its size. I am wondering if it isnt a cover for something else, what else would they enter the Soyuz vehicles for? I tried googling but couldnt come up with many details. Are the Soyuz vehicles better equipped to handle certain types of radiation than the ISS? or was this article from when the asteroid made its close approach?


The event just happened within the last hour, and the asteroid yesterday never came that close to Earth.

The object could not be observed from the space station, there is no radar gear on board, and impact threats -- exactly as mentioned by a well-informed earlier poster -- come from great distances at great speeds so they aren't even visible to the eye until at best the last second or two.

Ground radars in the US and Russia do the tracking and predicting, and both processes introduce distance errors that combine to be far greater than the size of the space station. Even in this case the 'red conjunction alert' only computed a 0.00010 chance of collision, one chance in 10,000.



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:48 AM
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I think that seeing as the population is currently having global warming and 'maintaining the enivornment' thrust down its throats, the same should be for all the corporations and secretive governments departments like the CIA, the likes of Nasa and the worlds 'space' programs should send crews up to clear the Earths surroundings of the crap they put up there in the first place.

Then they wouldn't have near misses of debris of an 'undetermined size'.
edit on 28/6/11 by DataWraith because: added a letter



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 07:51 AM
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Has there been any comment from NASA about this? Or does it happen often and we are just simply not told because it's "business as usual"...

After all, they are in a pretty rough environment. I read the blog and was surprised to see there was a questioning about the procedures of closing the hatches or not in case of an impact ( probable or not ).

They said a tennis ball size hole would give them three minutes before full depressurization; seems to me you need to close the hatches before the impact, if possible. And can you imagine having to fly through all the debris, if you manage to have the ship leave the station undamaged, and begin a re-entry scenario? How long could they stay aboard the Soyuz? Don't they need a window for re-entry, how often do they happen?

Thanks!



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 08:32 AM
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Originally posted by NowanKenubi
Has there been any comment from NASA about this? Or does it happen often and we are just simply not told because it's "business as usual"...

After all, they are in a pretty rough environment. I read the blog and was surprised to see there was a questioning about the procedures of closing the hatches or not in case of an impact ( probable or not ).

They said a tennis ball size hole would give them three minutes before full depressurization; seems to me you need to close the hatches before the impact, if possible. And can you imagine having to fly through all the debris, if you manage to have the ship leave the station undamaged, and begin a re-entry scenario? How long could they stay aboard the Soyuz? Don't they need a window for re-entry, how often do they happen?

Thanks!


As you can tell from the blog, the events were discussed in the open over the station comm link -- which can be listened to live at the NASA ISS website. NASA TV went to live coverage at 8 AM EDT to await the close approach time at 8:08 AM, then resumed normal programming. There is a live one-hour ISS status report every weekday at 11 AM EDT on the NASA TV channel.

I've been able to determine the close approach was over the eastern South Pacific during orbital night, so even if the crew had been observing through the small Soyuz windows, they could have seen nothing during the split seconds the object was passing. The biggest Soyuz windows (and periscope) faces forward towards its docking target, so when it's docked (as now) they are full of the view of the space station structure.

The NASA guys seemed to be fully open with all that they knew and were doing, which despite dark mumblings from some ATSers, seems to be their general behavior. When they stray from that behavior, it's usually in a clumsy ad hoc manner that is noticeable, and it gets the attention of outside observers, me included.

I don't get your reference to 'all that debris'. If there is a collision there's a hole in something and any splinters/shards get thrown off at high speed so shouldn't provide any hazard to Soyuz navigation. Especially since the Soyuz vehicles would probably stay docked for hours until they were approaching their regular landing zones.

There are supplies for at least 24 hours of free flight in each Soyuz, in case they are headed for home and have to delay the descent a day for weather reasons or other emergencies. The soyuzes are also where the emergency off-course landing survival kits are stowed, and they include a small handgun that I've written a lot about.


NASA ISS page:
www.nasa.gov...



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 08:53 AM
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reply to post by JimOberg
 


Thanks! And sorry, I meant to say flying through the debris after an impact, a major one, to the station.

I'll go see the link you provided.

It seems to me the handgun is less... classy than cyanide tooth!



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 08:58 AM
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reply to post by NowanKenubi
 



It seems to me the handgun is less... classy than cyanide tooth!


The handgun is aboard Soyuz because returning Russian cosmonauts are occasionally attacked by wolves!



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 09:41 AM
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Originally posted by JimOberg
NASA: "Unknown piece of space debris of unknown size" buzzes ISS, crews shelter in Soyuzes


What do you think the unknown debris could be? something originating from earth or something originating from space, piece of asteroid,meteor e.t.c?

Interesting none the less .
edit on 28-6-2011 by franspeakfree because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 09:57 AM
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Originally posted by franspeakfree

Originally posted by JimOberg
NASA: "Unknown piece of space debris of unknown size" buzzes ISS, crews shelter in Soyuzes


What do you think the unknown debris could be? something originating from earth or something originating from space, piece of asteroid,meteor e.t.c?

Interesting none the less .
edit on 28-6-2011 by franspeakfree because: (no reason given)


Good question, although it's clearly something in earth orbit since it was observed in previous days and its path was computer-predictable.



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 10:10 AM
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Originally posted by franspeakfree

Originally posted by JimOberg
NASA: "Unknown piece of space debris of unknown size" buzzes ISS, crews shelter in Soyuzes


What do you think the unknown debris could be? something originating from earth or something originating from space, piece of asteroid,meteor e.t.c?

Interesting none the less .
edit on 28-6-2011 by franspeakfree because: (no reason given)


I think that is something that come from outside.

Every single piece of debris above 1/2 cm is catalogued and its orbit known.
So....



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 10:14 AM
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Just listening to the live feed. The astronaut fella said that they were told about the object but "it was too far away for us to see"....

Hmmmmm

250 metres, hey?
edit on 28-6-2011 by lazernation because: (no reason given)


Must have been a pretty small object.
edit on 28-6-2011 by lazernation because: abc



posted on Jun, 28 2011 @ 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by lazernation
Just listening to the live feed. The astronaut fella said that they were told about the object but "it was too far away for us to see"....

Hmmmmm

250 metres, hey?
edit on 28-6-2011 by lazernation because: (no reason given)


Must have been a pretty small object.
edit on 28-6-2011 by lazernation because: abc


When I heard that, the reporter was asking about the asteroid that missed earth yesterday. Were you listening to another interview?

ADD: But the question about visibility of this morning's 'space junk' item is a valid one. Passing at a range of about 250 meters, at maybe 3 to 5 kilometers per second, in the darkness with the crew's eyes adjusted for interior cabin illumination levels, how much would you expect to be visible?


edit on 28-6-2011 by JimOberg because: add



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