Station controllers monitor threatening Fengyun 1C debris (UPDATED)

Space station flight controllers tracked a piece of debris from a deliberately destroyed Chinese satellite that threatened to pass relatively close to the lab complex Thursday afternoon. But additional radar tracking passes showed the debris would not pass close enough to require any action by the six-member crew.

The debris, catalog number 29829, is from the Fengyun 1C satellite that was blown up in a Chinese anti-satellite test in 2007, producing a huge cloud of debris.

When radar tracking indicates a piece of debris from any source might enter a protective "box" around the space station, the lab's orbit can be changed slightly or, if not enough time is available, the crew can "shelter in place" aboard the station's Soyuz re-entry vehicles.

In this case, multiple radar tracking passes showed the debris would stay outside the box and around 12:45 p.m., flight controllers told the station astronauts and cosmonauts there was “no probability of a conjunction” and no need to shelter in place.