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Space station avoids space junk collision for 13th time

The International Space Station is seen here in undated file footage.

January 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Astronauts successfully steered the International Space Station out of the way of a softball-sized piece of space junk Friday.

NASA said the debris came from an old United States private communication satellite and would have come within three miles of the station if astronauts had not changed its orbit.

Space junk moves so fast that it can puncture the station, so engineers try to give debris a wide berth whenever something comes close.

This is the thirteenth time the space station has dodged space junk since 1998.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.