Seven Astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) — four Americans, one German, and two Russians – have been endangered by space trash, forcing them to take shelter in their docked spacecraft and disturbing their work. On Monday, the United States Space Command announced that it was following a field of orbital debris that appeared to be the consequence of a satellite breakup.
The waste came dangerously close to the space station on subsequent orbits, requiring the Astronauts to close and then reopen multiple compartments, including the European lab, every 1 1/2 hours until bedtime.
As he bid Mission Control good night, NASA Astronauts Mark Vande Hei, who is halfway through a yearlong mission, described it as “a chaotic but well-coordinated day.” NASA and the State Department are collaborating with the Space Command. The Astronauts were ordered into their docked capsules earlier in the day, according to the Russian space agency Roscosmos, in case they needed to make a rapid departure. The crew was later “routinely executing operations,” according to the agency.