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Cleaning up space junk (Reporter: Matt McGrath)

5 October, 2012

Part 1:
0) The International Space Station (C) is to be moved into a different orbit to avoid       1) the possibility of a collision with a piece of space junk (B). The station, which is currently 2) home to six astronauts, (D) will fire 3) booster rockets (E) to avoid a fragment travelling at around 28,000 kilometres per hour. It's estimated there are around  4) 21,000 pieces of dangerous debris in low earth orbit (A).

Part 2:
Keeping an eye out for dangerous debris is 5) a critical part of operating the international space station (B). A week ago, Russian controllers were ready to take evasive action when (6) two pieces of junk (D) loomed close. Further inspection indicated (7) moving (C) wasn't necessary at that point. 8) This new threat (A) is believed to be slightly more serious. 

Part 3:
Controllers take 9) very few risks (D) with the station - they move it if the chances of a collision are greater than one in 10,000. Earlier this year, astronauts had to take           10) shelter in escape capsules (B) when 11) a piece of debris from a satellite (C) was detected too late to move the ISS. But 12) the space junk (A) missed by about 23 kilometres. 

Part 4:
NASA tracks pieces of debris bigger than ten centimetres. 13) Their numbers (C) are estimated to have increased by 50 percent over the past five years, 14) the result of a collision between two satellites in 2009 (D). In 2007, China used a missile to destroy one of its own satellites and, in the process, created more than 3,000 trackable objects. For the six crew currently on board, 15) the move to avoid this piece of junk (B) might provide 16) a bit more excitement (A) than recent activities, which have included mending a broken toilet.

(words in blue font = other noun phrases!)


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