The astronauts on SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission for NASA were told to buckle up and prepare for a bumpy ride on Friday as a piece of space junk large enough to kill them whizzed by.
As they were heading to the International Space Station after launching off in Florida, they were notified by the control board that a large piece of debris, possibly an old satellite, was uncomfortably close.
Watch the dramatic encounter in the video player below.
The astronauts desperately buckled in their seatbelts and waited for what happened next.
“For awareness, we have identified a late breaking possible conjunction with a fairly close miss distance to Dragon,” SpaceX’s Sarah Gilles warned astronauts from the control station.
“We do need you to immediately proceed with suit donning and securing yourselves in seats,” the controller said.
The incident occurred on Friday at 1.43pm local time.
“OK, we’re getting in the suits and we copy,” an astronaut replied in a calm tone.
“Copy Sarah, you want us in the suit for a possible close call,” another astronaut radioed back.
A minute later, Gilles back to say they had avoided incident.
“Dragon, SpaceX, we have passed TCA with no impact,” she radioed.
It passed them 45km away – which was hailed as a near miss.
The crew then continued its 23-hour voyage to the international space station without any other hitches.
It’s not the first time a piece of human-made space junk has threatened the safety of those venturing beyond our atmosphere.
The International Space Station itself, which is the size of a football field, has to regularly change its orbit to avoid space junk.
Originally published at 7news