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On-orbit Satellite Collision
ElkGroveDan
post Feb 11 2009, 09:35 PM
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Two satellites collide in orbit
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD

Posted: February 11, 2009

In an unprecedented space collision, a commercial Iridium communications satellite and a presumably defunct Russian Cosmos satellite ran into each other Tuesday above northern Siberia, creating a cloud of wreckage, officials said today.

Iridium satellite
An artist's concept of an Iridium satellite orbiting the Earth. Photo: Iridium

The international space station does not appear to be threatened by the debris, they said, but it's not yet clear whether it poses a risk to any other military or civilian satellites.

"They collided at an altitude of 790 kilometers (491 miles) over northern Siberia Tuesday about noon Washington time," said Nicholas Johnson, NASA's chief scientist for orbital debris at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. "The U.S. space surveillance network detected a large number of debris from both objects."

MORE.....


http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0902/11iridium/


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mcaplinger
post Feb 23 2009, 02:48 PM
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http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1314/1 is a very good summary of this event.


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Disclaimer: This post is based on public information only. Any opinions are my own.
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stevesliva
post Feb 23 2009, 04:42 PM
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QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Feb 23 2009, 10:48 AM) *
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1314/1 is a very good summary of this event.


QUOTE
In this vein, I think it can be argued that the US military committed a sin of omission in the case of the Iridium-Cosmos collision. The US military maintains the best and most complete satellite catalog in the world and had the data to provide collision warning to Iridium. But as was discussed earlier in this article, the US military only looks at a limited list of satellites for collisions. It also appears that at some point they stopped providing collision warning for the Iridium constellation.

Given the complexities of the conjunction assessment process, it is understandable that the US military does not have the resources or capability to screen all of the estimated 900 payloads in Earth orbit. But both the US military and Iridium knew that there were many close approaches with the Iridium constellation and that eventually one could collide. Perhaps both thought that if they stopped looking at the problem it would go away.


My bold. Ha. Given that supercomputers and salaries are an order of magnitude cheaper than satellites, perhaps that will change. (Although the Iridium constellation is odd in that is was essentially gotten for free after bankruptcy.) The conclusions in the article are a little more nuanced. Good article!
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Posts in this topic
- ElkGroveDan   On-orbit Satellite Collision   Feb 11 2009, 09:35 PM
- - OWW   Two satellites collide in orbit Ouch. How long be...   Feb 11 2009, 09:58 PM
- - nprev   Holy crap! Man, I knew it was getting crowde...   Feb 11 2009, 11:25 PM
- - Zvezdichko   This is bad. I hope it's not too late...   Feb 12 2009, 09:12 AM
|- - ugordan   What puzzles me is how come this collision wasn...   Feb 12 2009, 09:25 AM
- - nprev   I wondered that too, G. The Cosmos seemed to be de...   Feb 12 2009, 10:59 AM
|- - Geert   QUOTE (nprev @ Feb 12 2009, 05:59 PM) EDI...   Feb 12 2009, 01:35 PM
|- - ugordan   QUOTE (Geert @ Feb 12 2009, 02:35 PM) Do ...   Feb 12 2009, 01:39 PM
|- - Geert   QUOTE (ugordan @ Feb 12 2009, 08:39 PM) T...   Feb 12 2009, 05:43 PM
|- - PFK   QUOTE (ugordan @ Feb 12 2009, 01:39 PM) T...   Feb 13 2009, 07:52 AM
- - rlorenz   QUOTE (ElkGroveDan @ Feb 11 2009, 04:35 P...   Feb 12 2009, 11:27 AM
- - nprev   True, Ralph. I think that the 'first' here...   Feb 12 2009, 12:17 PM
- - AndyG   There's a trillion cubic kilometres of space i...   Feb 12 2009, 01:52 PM
|- - stevesliva   QUOTE (AndyG @ Feb 12 2009, 09:52 AM) The...   Feb 12 2009, 05:40 PM
||- - AndyG   QUOTE (stevesliva @ Feb 12 2009, 05:40 PM...   Feb 12 2009, 08:51 PM
|- - tedstryk   QUOTE (AndyG @ Feb 12 2009, 02:52 PM) The...   Feb 13 2009, 12:53 PM
- - dvandorn   I don't know, it seems to me that, with the nu...   Feb 12 2009, 02:08 PM
|- - algorimancer   Yes, considering that they (apparently) routinely ...   Feb 12 2009, 03:19 PM
|- - stevesliva   QUOTE (algorimancer @ Feb 12 2009, 11:19 ...   Feb 12 2009, 05:43 PM
|- - ugordan   QUOTE (stevesliva @ Feb 12 2009, 06:43 PM...   Feb 12 2009, 05:48 PM
|- - stevesliva   QUOTE (ugordan @ Feb 12 2009, 01:48 PM) H...   Feb 12 2009, 05:50 PM
|- - ugordan   QUOTE (stevesliva @ Feb 12 2009, 06:50 PM...   Feb 12 2009, 05:56 PM
- - tasp   Not to make light of this occurrence, but trackin...   Feb 12 2009, 03:40 PM
|- - ngunn   QUOTE (tasp @ Feb 12 2009, 03:40 PM) fasc...   Feb 12 2009, 04:35 PM
- - djellison   At 7.5km/sec - it takes about 0.00013s for a space...   Feb 12 2009, 05:50 PM
|- - AndyG   QUOTE (djellison @ Feb 12 2009, 05:50 PM)...   Feb 12 2009, 08:48 PM
|- - stevesliva   QUOTE (AndyG @ Feb 12 2009, 04:48 PM) tha...   Feb 12 2009, 09:30 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (AndyG @ Feb 12 2009, 08:48 PM) It...   Feb 12 2009, 11:12 PM
- - dvandorn   The only way in which I think you could say that t...   Feb 12 2009, 06:06 PM
|- - mcaplinger   QUOTE (dvandorn @ Feb 12 2009, 10:06 AM) ...   Feb 12 2009, 06:38 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (dvandorn @ Feb 12 2009, 06:06 PM) ...   Feb 12 2009, 06:45 PM
- - ngunn   A question - could a defunct satellite suddenly sp...   Feb 12 2009, 06:59 PM
|- - stevesliva   QUOTE (ngunn @ Feb 12 2009, 02:59 PM) A q...   Feb 12 2009, 07:29 PM
|- - ngunn   QUOTE (stevesliva @ Feb 12 2009, 07:29 PM...   Feb 12 2009, 11:08 PM
- - mcaplinger   One has to keep in mind that satellite paths are n...   Feb 12 2009, 08:20 PM
- - nprev   Mike, you're right; even the GPS constellation...   Feb 12 2009, 08:33 PM
|- - mcaplinger   QUOTE (nprev @ Feb 12 2009, 12:33 PM) Cou...   Feb 12 2009, 08:53 PM
- - nprev   Thanks, Mike. Wow. Think we might have found the d...   Feb 12 2009, 09:02 PM
- - imipak   QUOTE (algorimancer @ Feb 12 2009, 03:19 ...   Feb 12 2009, 09:04 PM
- - OWW   Speculation: Maybe Cosmos 2251 very recently suffe...   Feb 12 2009, 09:31 PM
|- - AndyG   QUOTE (OWW @ Feb 12 2009, 09:31 PM) Specu...   Feb 12 2009, 10:02 PM
- - nprev   Thing is, all the press reports seem to imply a he...   Feb 12 2009, 10:19 PM
- - dvandorn   Statistics are what people play around with while ...   Feb 13 2009, 02:10 AM
- - kwan3217   From the http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Feb-2009/ind...   Feb 13 2009, 04:58 AM
- - ilbasso   They have moved the ISS orbit - what, 8 times? - b...   Feb 13 2009, 04:59 AM
- - nprev   The only thing to be sure of is that this event is...   Feb 13 2009, 11:40 AM
- - ngunn   I don't get this (from spaceweather): "T...   Feb 13 2009, 11:58 AM
|- - ugordan   QUOTE (ngunn @ Feb 13 2009, 12:58 PM) If ...   Feb 13 2009, 12:03 PM
|- - ngunn   QUOTE (ugordan @ Feb 13 2009, 12:03 PM) Y...   Feb 13 2009, 02:34 PM
- - remcook   And that's the reason why they expect most bit...   Feb 13 2009, 03:54 PM
- - dvandorn   The dynamics of the impact also affect the kinetic...   Feb 13 2009, 05:38 PM
- - mcaplinger   As noted by kwan3217, there is already a very nice...   Feb 13 2009, 05:41 PM
|- - ugordan   Via NSF.com - a couple of simulations showing debr...   Feb 13 2009, 10:53 PM
|- - Geert   QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Feb 14 2009, 12:41 AM...   Feb 14 2009, 02:42 AM
- - Vultur   It will be interesting to see how (or if) regulato...   Feb 14 2009, 02:47 AM
|- - Leither   QUOTE (Vultur @ Feb 14 2009, 03:47 AM) It...   Feb 14 2009, 08:23 PM
- - nprev   Well, the right answer IMHO would be at this point...   Feb 14 2009, 04:22 AM
- - ngunn   From SpaceWeather: "LISTEN UP: The US Air Fo...   Feb 14 2009, 01:41 PM
- - leper   I'm surprised this happened in my lifetime...   Feb 15 2009, 12:30 AM
- - Juramike   CNN reporting that a fireball was imaged and sonic...   Feb 16 2009, 02:11 AM
- - nprev   Hmm. The speed of the object is fairly slow, which...   Feb 16 2009, 02:46 AM
- - PhilCo126   Another weblink with the video footage: http://www...   Feb 16 2009, 07:29 AM
- - Exploitcorporations   I've been following this story with astonishme...   Feb 17 2009, 03:44 AM
- - mcaplinger   http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1314/1 is a ...   Feb 23 2009, 02:48 PM
- - stevesliva   QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Feb 23 2009, 10:48 AM...   Feb 23 2009, 04:42 PM
- - helvick   Nice post on the collision by Diandra over at Cock...   Feb 23 2009, 06:12 PM
- - Tom Womack   QUOTE (helvick @ Feb 23 2009, 06:12 PM) N...   Feb 24 2009, 01:39 PM


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