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No One Can Hear You Scream

Source: The Guardian
November 2006

The two astronauts on board the international space station had their breakfast disturbed by the unexpected sound of a mysterious metallic bang which was first thought to have been caused by a foreign object striking the hull. Astronaut Mike Foale told NASA's mission control the noise sounded like a tin can being squashed.

He said he thought something had collided with the Russian module that houses the sleeping quarters, kitchen and lavatory, but video cameras on the station's external robot arm showed no signs of impact. Experts on the ground confirmed there was no pressure loss and that the astronauts and the station were not in danger.

Large pieces of space junk such as bits of redundant satellite or spent booster rockets, can be spotted and the station navigated out of the way using booster rockets. Russian scientists played down suggestions that the station had been hit by orbiting space junk, instead saying that the noise came from onboard equipment.

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