‘Possible close call:’ Astronauts aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon told to prepare for impact with space junk

Spaceship docks safely at International Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The Crew-2 astronauts had a relatively close call with a UFO, likely space junk, several hours after launching Friday from Florida, according to space.com.

A Falcon 9 rocket catapulted the astronauts into space aboard a Crew Dragon capsule early Friday morning and the space junk threat, known as a possible conjunction, was reported around 1:43 p.m. EDT.

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“For awareness, we have identified a late breaking possible conjunction with a fairly close miss distance to Dragon,” SpaceX’s Sarah Gilles told the crew. “As such, we do need you to immediately proceed with suit donning and securing yourselves in seats.”

Gilles told the astronauts to prepare as a safety precaution in case of an impact.

“Copy Sarah, you want us in the suit for a possible close call,” astronaut Thomas Pesquet said.

Gilles later radioed an update to the astronauts, saying the debris appeared to be passing Crew Dragon at a farther distance than initially expected. An all-clear was given a short time later.

On Monday, U.S. Space Command officials said it turns out there was no object and no threat, and the false alarm is now under review.

The distance and composition of the debris was not immediately clear, although some reports suggest the UFO was about 45 kilometers away.

The Crew Dragon Endeavour successfully docked at the space station early Saturday.

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Astronauts aboard the space station, about the size of a football field, have several times in the past moved the ISS to avoid getting smacked by one of the millions of pieces of space junk in low-Earth orbit.