'Very high risk' defunct Russian satellite and Chinese rocket body will collide

Pablo Tucker
October 16, 2020

According to the company's data, "combined mass of both objects is about 2,800 kilogrammes and the probability of their collision is more than 10 per cent".

Ceperley thought it was unlikely any collision on Friday would be visible from Earth.

"These numbers haven't changed drastically and this is still a high-stakes event", LeoLabs spokeswoman Marie Devenszo told Business Insider.

"Multiple times a week we're seeing dead satellites come within 100m of each other, moving at tremendous speeds", Ceperley said.


Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist on the Harvard-Smithsonian Heart for Astrophysics, said the 2 objects have been a defunct Soviet navigation satellite tv for pc known as Parus [Kosmos 2004] that launched in 1989 and a Chinese language rocket stage.

The company chose to raise public awareness about this particular event, he said, because the two objects are both large - and likely to create an enormous debris field if they collide - and because they're in an area of orbit that's still relatively clean compared to nearby orbits. Neither of the objects is still in use. Astrodynamicist Moriba Jah of the University of Texas at Austin estimated that the miss distance was about 70 meters (0.04 miles), the BBC reported.

Earlier this year, two old satellites were likely to collide as they were to pass within 15 to 30 metres of each other, with a one in 100 chance of collision.

"No indication of collision", LeoLabs said in a tweet.


LeoLabs fired an alarm after finding that two pieces of space garbage had a 10 percent chance of colliding in orbit. "Our data shows only a single object as we'd hoped, with no signs of debris". That event produced a massive cloud of debris, most of which is too small to track from the ground.

NASA estimates there are 500,000 pieces of space junk around Earth. Man-made space debris refers to fragments that circumnavigate the earth due to gravity after manned spacecraft or satellites become inactive. The junk is heavily concentrated in areas of orbit closest to the Earth's surface.

He doubted anyone on Earth would be at risk, as any junk that hurtled towards them would burn up in the atmosphere.

Only recently, for instance, the International Space Station (ISS) had to perform an "avoidance maneuver" to avoid being hit by a piece of debris that actually used to be a part of a 2018 Japanese rocket that blew up into 77 pieces.


Other reports by iNewsToday

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