12 February 2009

Sattelites collide

An Irridium satelite collided yesterday with a Russian sattelite that, according to Roscosmos, the Russian space agency "in all likelihood... belonged in the past to the military".
Irridium is a system of 66 active satellites for using handheld satellite phones. Irridium says they have spares in orbit that will replace the crashed sattelite.
I wonder which sattelite will be held responsible according to space traffic rules.
With that space debris is promoted from a science fiction issue to a real threat. This mass of debris now consists of more than 500,000 objects. and includes empty upper-stages of launch vehicles, dead satellites, gloves, wrenches and even a toothbrush lost by astronauts from past space missions. Any object weighing more than a few grammes and travelling at seven kilometres per second can easily destroy a satellite.

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