Rogue Satellite Won't Hurt Space Station, Shuttle

Liane Hansen discusses the Pentagon's plans to shoot down the notorious damaged spy satellite next week, but the Space Shuttle Atlantis is expected to be back by then, and the International Space Station is not in danger.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

The U.S. military expects to shoot down a damaged spy satellite as early as this week just before it enters Earth's atmosphere. This story seems to come right out of a science fiction movie, and understandably it may make you a little nervous. However you don't need to worry about crew members of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. They should be back on terra firma before the operation is carried out.

Shuttle Commander Steve Frick spoke at a news conference yesterday.

Mr. STEVE FRICK (Commander, Space Shuttle Atlantis): We're going to be safely on the ground before they take any action and the satellite is going to be safely well below the space station so we don't expect any problems.

HANSEN: Atlantis is currently linked up with the International Space Station. It's expected to undock tomorrow morning at 4:26 Eastern Standard Time, and if all goes according to plan the shuttle will touch down on Wednesday morning at 9:06.

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