International Space Station to move to avoid debris

MOSCOW — The Russian space program’s Mission Control Center says it will move the International Space Station into a different orbit to avoid possible collision with a fragment of debris.

Mission Control Center spokeswoman Nadyezhda Zavyalova said the Russian Zvevda module will fire booster rockets to carry out the operation Thursday at 07:22 a.m. Moscow time (0322 GMT).

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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