Space station debris avoidance maneuver carried out

Rocket thrusters on a Russian supply ship docked to the International Space Station were fired for three minutes at 6:25 a.m. EDT (10:25 GMT) Tuesday to change the lab's orbit slightly and prevent a possible close encounter with an out-of-commission satellite.

Tracking data indicated NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, decommissioned in 2005 after 14 years of service, could have passed within about four tenths of a mile of the station, inside the imaginary safety zone, or box, NASA and Russian flight controllers protect. While one tracking pass indicated the satellite would stay clear, six earlier checks showed it inside the box.

As a result, U.S. and Russian flight controllers agreed to carry out an avoidance maneuver. The rocket firing will not have any significant effect on the shuttle Discovery's launch time next Monday or the duration of the ship's launch period.