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Space junk cloud threatens ISS


Space junk cloud threatens ISS

Only hours after the successful docking of a Soyuz spacecraft with the International Space Station, concern is growing from the threat of an enormous cloud of space debris created by a failed Russian rocket.

The cloud is said to consist of around 500 pieces of junk orbiting the Earth since the explosion last month of a Proton-M rocket as it tried to launch two telecom satellites.

The break-up is creating a major potential problem for the ISS controllers, since even small pieces from rockets can damage the Space Station as they travel at very high speeds.

If the debris comes too close the ISS can fire up its engines to change course to avoid a potential space junk collision although this does use up precious fuel.