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Space debris no threat to shuttle, station

July 11, 2011 at 6:35 PM   |   Comments

HOUSTON, July 11 (UPI) -- Debris from a dead Soviet-era satellite poses no threat to the International Space Station and the shuttle Atlantis currently docked with it, NASA says.

The Space Surveillance Network operated by the U.S. military informed notified NASA of the orbiting piece of space junk Sunday. NASA began tracking the object's path to determine how close it might come to the station and the shuttle, SPACE.com reported Monday.

"Mission Control has verified that the track of a piece of orbital debris will not be a threat to the International Space Station and space shuttle Atlantis," NASA officials in Houston said in a statement. "No adjustments to the docked spacecraft's orbit will be necessary to avoid the debris."

More than 500,000 pieces of space junk, including the chunk of the defunct Soviet Cosmos 375 satellite currently being tracked, are cataloged and monitored in Earth's orbit, NASA officials said.

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