A mini-meteorite has left a bullet- sized hole in a module of the International Space Station (ISS), but the three-person US-Russian team of astronauts inside are not in danger, a Russian official said.

The puncture, in an outer pumping component on the module, was detected in the Russia "Zaria" module of the station during a spacewalk by the two Russian cosmonauts on board, the spokesman for the Russian space agency, Vladimir Solovyev, said yesterday.

It was the first time a meteorite hole had been found on a module of the ISS. Several holes have been observed on the big solar panels that spread out from the orbiter.

Solovyev said the module itself was not punctured. Photos of the hole had been sent back to Earth for study.

The Russians, Fyodor Yurchikin and Oleg Kotov, who made their six-hour space walk yesterday, are joined on the ISS by a US astronaut of Indian origin, Sunita Williams.

Space debris, either natural or from parts of rockets and satellites, represent a serious danger to the ISS and its occupants.