Hail of Debris Forces Space Station Evacuation

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2009 12:20 PM CDT
An artist's impression of catalogued objects in low-Earth orbit.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Fearing a strike by orbiting space junk, the three astronauts on the International Space Station evacuated to an attached capsule this morning, the Houston Chronicle reports. Though the chance of impact was slight, the debris—a 4-inch piece of an old rocket—could have caused major damage to the station. The astronauts returned safely minutes after the item passed within 3 miles.