NASA

International Space Station safe from orbiting space debris

FILE - This Feb. 19. 2010 file photo provided by NASA shows the International Space Station with Earth's horizon as a backdrop. Several power systems have been shut down aboard the International Space Station after a cooling system malfunctioned. NASA says in a posting on its website that one of two cooling loops aboard the space station was shut down Saturday, July 31, 2010. A module that pumps ammonia coolant to prevent equipment from overheating was still shut down early Sunday, Aug. 1. (AP Photo/NASA, File)

FILE - This Feb. 19. 2010 file photo provided by NASA shows the International Space Station with Earth's horizon as a backdrop. Several power systems have been shut down aboard the International Space Station after a cooling system malfunctioned. NASA says in a posting on its website that one of two cooling loops aboard the space station was shut down Saturday, July 31, 2010. A module that pumps ammonia coolant to prevent equipment from overheating was still shut down early Sunday, Aug. 1. (AP Photo/NASA, File)  (AP Photo/NASA, File)

Russia's Mission Control Center said Wednesday it dropped an earlier plan to move the International Space Station into a different orbit to avoid possible collision with space debris after additional calculations showed that there was no such threat.

Mission Control Center said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that a fragment of space debris would fly by too far to pose any danger to the space outpost, so a plan to fire booster rockets to carry out the maneuver on Thursday at 07:22 a.m. Moscow time (0322 GMT) was canceled.

The space station performs evasive maneuvers when the likelihood of a collision exceeds one in 10,000.

NASA estimates that more than 21,000 fragments of orbital debris larger than 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) are stuck in earth's orbit, and experts worry that orbiting junk is becoming a growing problem for the space industry.

There are six astronauts -- three Russians, two Americans and one from Japan -- onboard the orbiting laboratory.

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