February 11: The First Time Two Satellites Have Had A Major Collision

Posted Feb 12, 2009

When you think of February 11 from now, remember it as the first time in history that one of the thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth have collided.  Scientists at NASA is closely monitoring the after-effects of the collision.  The accident took place about 400 miles above Siberia.  After the collision, a large debris cloud formed and is drifting in space.

NASA wants to make sure that the damage from these satellites do not damage other spacecraft.  It is pretty unlikely that this will happen.

“It will be weeks at least before the true magnitude of these clouds are known,” stated NASA in a message. “The risk to the space station is considered to be very small and within acceptable limits.”

The two satellites believed to be involved is one that belongs to Iridium, a U.S. company and a Russian Cosmos satellite that was no longer being used.  The Iridium satellite was launched around 1997 and the Russian satellite was launched around 1993.  Both were used for telecomm purposes.  The Iridium satellite provided telephone service to 250,000 people around the world.