From: Frank Warren <frank-warren.nul> Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 06:20:59 -0800 Fwd Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 16:08:07 -0500 Subject: Mysterious Object Floats Away From ISS Source: WFTV 9 http://www.wftv.com/news/2828549/detail.html February 9, 2004 Mysterious Object Floats Away From International Space Station Kennedy Space Center, Fla. -- In orbit, you don't want to hear someone say, "What was that?!" But, something has floated away from the International Space Station. Now, NASA and the Russian Space Agency are trying to figure out what it was. They don't know what it is, but astronaut Michael Foale saw it float away, and now Mission Control is trying to determine if it came from the space station itself or a Russian capsule that just docked with the station. Commander Foale and cosmonaut Sasha Valerie spoke to educators this morning, answering questions about their last mystery, a recent loss of air pressure. "The pressure changes were very similar to changes you experience as weather, so it was not a big shift in pressure," said Foale. They made no mention of the object floating away from the station. Foale reported seeing a six to eight inch piece of debris rotating slowly away from them, passing over the Russian solar array panels. The item was noticed just after a Russian progress capsule docked with the station and test fired its thrusters. The first impression from Mission Control is that it could have been anything from some propellant, to a Velcro strap. The science experiments continued aboard the station while Russian Mission Control examined photographs to try and determine what it was. A NASA spokesperson in Houston says it doesn't appear the object was vital to the space station, and based on the way it floated away they do not believe it will come back into contact with the space station either. Meanwhile, back on the ground, the next American astronaut preparing to live aboard the space station has fallen ill, leaving NASA and the Russians to pick an entirely new team to make the next trip.
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