Two Satellites Collide Over Siberia

Two large communications satellites, one American and one Russian, collided in space 490 miles over Siberia, NASA reported Wednesday. The collision involved an Iridium commercial satellite, launched in 1997, and a Russian satellite, Cosmos 2251, which was launched in 1993 and believed to be non-functioning.

The Iridium satellite weighed 1,234 pounds, and the Russian craft weighed 1,984 pounds. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Les Kodlick of the U.S. Strategic Command
"We believe it's the first time that two satellites have collided in orbit."
Previous collisions have apparently involved pieces and parts. Meanwhile, Mark Matney, an orbital debris scientist at Johnson Space Center in Houston, said:
"We knew this was going to happen eventually. Right now, they're definitely counting dozens (of debris pieces). I would suspect that they'll be counting hundreds when the counting is done."
There is a slight risk to the International Space Station (ISS), but NASA believes it to be low, as the ISS orbits about 270 miles below the area of the collision.

Iridium released a statement saying:
"Within the next 30 days, Iridium expects to move one of its in-orbit spare satellites into the network constellation to permanently replace the lost satellite."
There are thousands of debris objects orbiting the earth, all of which present a danger to satellite, spacecraft and even astronauts. There are more than 600,000 objects larger than 1 cm in orbit (according to the ESA Meteoroid and Space Debris Terrestrial Environment Reference, the MASTER-2005 model).

Obviously, many more were added to orbit today.

Via:  Various
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