Astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station were forced to duck into their capsules for shelter Monday as a shower of space junk threatened to pelt the orbiting craft.
The US Space Command said the station’s seven crew members were told to prepare in case they get hit by orbiting debris that is coming “uncomfortably” close over the next few days.
The crew, including four who arrived on the space station Thursday, have now been forced to set aside science research and other projects while they ride out the threat.
There are currently four Americans, two Russians and one German on board.
The Russian Space Agency tweeted earlier in the day that the crew was told to return to their docked capsules in case the station was severely damaged and they had to jettison back into space.
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who is in the middle of a yearlong assignment, called it “a crazy but well-coordinated day.”
“It was certainly a great way to bond as a crew, starting off with our very first workday in space,” Vande Hei broadcast to Mission Control.
According to NASA, there are approximately 20,000 pieces of space junk orbiting the globe, among them old satellites that have broken up.
With Post wires