Thursday, February 12, 2009

A first

A first you will likely hear more of occurred Tuesday in low-earth orbit. Reuters reported that a privately owned U.S. communications satellite collided with an out of service Russian Cosmos-2251 military satellite over Siberia in the first satellite to satellite crash in outer space. Reuters quotes Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Les Kodlick of the U.S. Strategic Command, "The collision...involved a spacecraft of privately owned Iridium Satellite LLC and a 'non-operational' Russian communications satellite." Reuters reported that the U.S. Strategic Command was tracking 500 to 600 new bits of debris, some as small as 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) across. That is a lot of space junk, especially when there are already 18,000 man-made objects in Earth's orbit that the U.S. Strategic Command monitors.

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