WASHINGTON (March 24, 2012)--A discarded chunk of a Russian rocket missed the International Space Station early Saturday, but, it came close enough to force six astronauts to seek shelter in escape capsules.
NASA said the space junk was barely close enough to be a threat but if it had hit, the station would have been a dangerous place to be so the two Americans, three Russians and the Dutchman aboard the orbiting lab woke early and moved into two Soyuz vehicles ready to rocket back to Earth just in case.
The debris came closest at 1:38 a.m. CDT.
It wasn't noticed until Friday, too late to move the International Space Station out of the way.
It’s the third time in 12 years that astronauts have had to seek shelter from space junk.