24/03/2012 16:14 GMT

International Space Station Crew Shelter In Soyuz Escape Capsules To Avoid Drifting Space Junk

Crew from the International Space Station have been given the all clear to return to the complex after taking refuge in escape capsules as a piece of space junk floated close by.

The six members of the Expedition 30 crew moved into their Soyuz vehicles after a chunk of Russian Cosmos satellite debris drifted nearby.

The crew were ordered into the escape vehicles by Flight Director Jerry Jason after ballistics specialists notified him of the risk of a collision.

The debris was spotted on Friday morning and had been predicted to pass within 23km of the ISS complex the following day.

It is the third time in ISS history that a crew has had to shelter in their Soyuz return craft due to the risk of colliding with orbital debris, Nasa said.