Destroyed Chinese satellite close to ISS: official

Jul 23, 2010
A view of the European Columbus module at the International Space Station in 2008. Debris from a satellite destroyed in 2007 by a Chinese missile is in the vicinity of the International Space Station and astronauts are ready to take cover if required, a Russian official said Friday.

Debris from a satellite destroyed in 2007 by a Chinese missile is in the vicinity of the International Space Station and astronauts are ready to take cover if required, a Russian official said Friday.

The shooting down of the Chinese Feng Yun 1C by a ground missile launched from China at the time sparked international alarm and concern about the creation of dangerous .

"If the calculations show that the debris is approaching the station at an unacceptably close range, the six will receive the order to take shelter in the two Russian Soyuz spacecraft which are docked with the ISS," an official at mission control outside Moscow told the Interfax news agency.

The official described the flight path of the debris as "dangerous" and said it was already too late to carry out a manoeuvre to "divert the station from the rubbish".

The official was not named and there was no further comment from the Russian side.

However spokesperson Kelly Humphries played down the situation, saying that while the debris had been monitored, its distance from the station was substantial.

"A possible conjunction with a piece of the Chinese Feng Yun satellite debris was monitored by ballistics specialists late last night and overnight," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

"It was determined, however, that the miss distance is substantial and no debris avoidance manoeuvre will be required."

The shooting down of the satellite was the first known such intercept test by any country in two decades and China's confirmation of the action at the time sparked a sharp rebuke from the United States.

Explore further: Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China meeting on space waste delayed

Apr 20, 2007

China, apparently fearing criticism of its recent satellite destruction, has put off hosting next week's global meeting on hazardous space waste.

NASA eyes debris as Discovery nears space station

Mar 16, 2009

(AP) -- NASA kept close tabs on an old piece of space junk Monday that threatened to come too close to the international space station as the shuttle Discovery raced toward the orbiting outpost for a 220-mile-high ...

NASA says space station safe from debris

Mar 16, 2009

(AP) -- NASA gave the all-clear to the international space station Monday, telling its astronauts they would not need to steer away from an orbiting piece of satellite junk.

Recommended for you

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

14 hours ago

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… ...

Rosetta instrument commissioning continues

14 hours ago

We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

Astronaut salary

15 hours ago

Talk about a high-flying career! Being a government astronaut means you have the chance to go into space and take part in some neat projects—such as going on spacewalks, moving robotic arms and doing science ...

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

Apr 16, 2014

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 23, 2010
The headline is debunked in the last four paragraphs. The factual content that led to this article says that *if* calculations showed that the debris reached an unacceptably close range, they would take emergency action as a precaution. Of course that would be part of any sane protocol.

It is likely that the reason this story has hit the news feeds at this time is that a Chinese missile shot down another satellite a few days ago. This creates a) a political desire to rebuke China somehow for the latest missile and b) a press desire to feed the public's thirst for news about China + shooting down satellites.. However, fact-wise there is nothing particularly noteworthy aside from what the last four paragraphs say.. Namely, that in direct contradiction to the thrust of the headline, the debris is far and no manoeuvre will be required.

All that said.. I am very opposed to junk in space which causes difficulties to space access. I just wish for honest stories.
2.8 / 5 (4) Jul 24, 2010
It's amazing that a China has got away with thier deed for so long. The whole ASAT test smacked of arrogance and has militarized space which is totally unnecessary.

Looks like the PLA is manned by Armchair generals who don't care what the rest of the world thinks. I guess the world will sit up and take notice only when someone is killed by this Chinese junk.
not rated yet Jul 24, 2010
How did ontheinternets's post get rated so highly when it made the false claim "Chinese missile shot down another satellite a few days ago?" I love the irony of the appeal for honesty at the end.
2.5 / 5 (2) Jul 24, 2010
If it isn't true (I don't know) then it still could be an error. To err is not dishonest.

It's no secret that most Western news about China are politically biased.
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2010
I did not make it up. Here is a link:

So of course, it immediately came to mind when I saw this Physorg story.. and it was actually slightly confusing for a moment because my initial assumption was that it would pertain to the new satellite shot.

To nitpick my comment (and I suppose it is a somewhat large oversight, though it is of little practical importance), the report of the new shot did not surface until the weekend of July 17th, 2010 -- just six days before this story... although the new shot actually occurred back in January, 2010.

More news stories

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

( —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Hubble image: A cross-section of the universe

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

( —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue may have nearly twice the risk of actually having prostate cancer than those with no inflammation, according to results of a new study led by researchers ...