If you ever wondered what it is like above Planet Earth, probably you also thought of how many artificial satellites are circling our planet. It is the first thing that anyone who wish to go to space must consider.
Guess what? Two big satellites collided above Siberia.
The commercial communications satellite called Iridium and a defunct Russian satellite ran into each other last Tuesday, which resulted to yet even more debris, or should I say, trash.
“They collided at an altitude of 790 kilometers (491 miles) over northern Sibera 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.”
This is the first time that two communication satellites collided, these type of satellites are big and a collision will generate hundreds or even thousands of debris that can put all the other satellites into danger.
The U.S. STRATCOM routinely tracks about 18,000 objects in space, and initial count due to this latest space collision is already up to 600 pieces. All debris have to be accounted for, to minimize the dangers for future manned spaceflights.
This is a reality that the majority of us are not aware of – space debris, defunct satellites, and the crowded orbits just above our atmosphere. If we will ever dream of creating space tourism, we need to clean our backyard first – or upyard.
Image: Satellites Beware bylicensed under CC By-SA 2.0.
Space Red Alert: Satellite Collision by Yuki is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Legal Notice.