Space Junk Forces Astronauts to Take Shelter They're safe and sound after chunk of debris passes by By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Mar 24, 2012 5:42 AM CDT 6 comments Comments FILE - This Feb. 16, 2001 file photo provided by NASA, shows the International Space Station as it orbits the Earth. A discarded chunk of a Russian rocket is forcing six space station astronauts to... (Anonymous) (Newser) – A discarded chunk of a Russian rocket missed the International Space Station early today. However, it came close enough to force six astronauts to seek shelter in escape capsules. The two Americans, three Russians, and a Dutchman woke early and went into two Soyuz vehicles ready to rocket back to Earth just in case. The debris wasn't noticed until yesterday, too late to move the space station. This is the third time in 12 years that astronauts have had to seek shelter from space junk, including last June.