Orbital Impact, Iridium 33 vs Cosmos 2251

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Smersh

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Plural?&nbsp; ;-) <br /> Posted by CalliArcale</DIV></p><p>Ok I concede, not <em>quite</em> (yet ...) :)&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <h1 style="margin:0pt;font-size:12px">----------------------------------------------------- </h1><p><font color="#800000"><em>Lady Nancy Astor: "Winston, if you were my husband, I'd poison your tea."<br />Churchill: "Nancy, if you were my wife, I'd drink it."</em></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Website / forums </strong></font></p> </div>
 
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job1207

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<p>http://celestrak.com/cgi-bin/searchSOCRATES.pl</p><p>This site tracks space objects. Every day, objects come within a few hundred feet of one another, and close at orbital velocities. Most of this is debris which is free floating.&nbsp;</p><p>Hearing that the Iridium was operational, but not moved is truly a National disgrace. Space Command should be in charge of keeping space as safe as possible. They should move ALL capable bodies that have an unacceptable risk of collision.&nbsp; </p><p>The ISS can only withstand a 1cm hit. There are more than 200000 of those bodies orbiting. Most of them are not tracked. A GAO report from the early 90s predicted an ISS catastrophe.&nbsp; </p><p>This topic comes up when something gets hit. Then it goes away until something else gets hit. The Domino effect IS in progress. It is a peculiar Domino effect, in that it is going to take a long time for it to heat up. All experts I've read are certain that this problem will get worse.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Again, ALL maneuverable spacecraft MUST be under control of one Space Traffic Control regime. We can work it out on the ground&nbsp; but we cannot work it out in space. We need to start getting this squared away today.&nbsp;</p><p>NASA needs to research space debris. Every time that comes up it is deemed to be too expensive. I do hope that they come up with a solution soon.&nbsp; </p>
 
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thekyniche

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<p>At 10:08pm on Feb. 13, 2008, a fireball was reported and a shockwave was felt from Northcentral Kentucky to the Tennessee line. Scanner frequencies I was monitoring reported a fireball and I also felt the shockwave. </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Could this have been related? </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A Lexington newscast and website has made reference to this incident. Channel WLEX-18 reported it on their 11pm newscast and their weatherman, Bill Meck, wrote in his blog, http://community.lex18.com/weather/ . As of the present, nothing is on their website but something happened.</p>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>At 10:08pm on Feb. 13, 2008, a fireball was reported and a shockwave was felt from Northcentral Kentucky to the Tennessee line. Scanner frequencies I was monitoring reported a fireball and I also felt the shockwave. &nbsp;Could this have been related? &nbsp;A Lexington newscast and website has made reference to this incident. Channel WLEX-18 reported it on their 11pm newscast and their weatherman, Bill Meck, wrote in his blog, http://community.lex18.com/weather/ . As of the present, nothing is on their website but something happened. <br />Posted by thekyniche</DIV><br /><br />No, it would not have been related. The satellites are in very high orbits, it will take a long time for debris to come down.</p><p>Meteoric Fireballs happen all the time, about 1 a day average is reported to the AMS.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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<p><font size="3"><strong>For those interested the IRIDIUM chronology. </strong></font></p><p>http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/kosmos3.htm<font size="4">Strela series chronology including Kosmos 2251. </font></p><p><font size="2"><strong>Andrew Brown. </strong></font></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p>Unsure of the source for this....still checking: (other than it came from the meteorobs list)</p><p><br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Iridium 33<br /><br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;* *Owner:* Iridium LLC <<span class="Object"><span class="Object">http://www.iridium.com</span></span>><br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;* *Technical operator:* The Boeing Co. <<span class="Object"><span class="Object">http://www.boeing.com</span></span>> under<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;subcontract<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;* *Manufacturer: *Motorola, Inc. <<span class="Object"><span class="Object">http://www.motorola.inc</span></span>><br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;* *Launched: *14 September 1997<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;* *Orbit:* near-circular 776 km x 86.4 degrees polar orbit<br /><br />Iridium 33, an operational spacecraft in the Iridium phone satellite <br />constellation, and Kosmos 2251, a defunct Russian military satellite, <br />have collided in low-Earth orbit. The crash took place on 10 February <br />2009 at 1656 UTC over northern Siberia, resulting in the destruction of <br />both spacecraft.<br /><br />Kosmos 2251, a Strela store-and-dump communications satellite, was <br />launched in June 1993 aboard a Kosmos 3M rocket from Plesetsk, Russia. <br />The 900-kg satellite was placed in a 778 km x 803 km x 74 degrees orbit. <br />It is likely to have operated for no more than a few years.<br /><br />"While this is an extremely unusual, very low-probability event, the <br />Iridium constellation is uniquely designed to withstand such an event, <br />and the company is taking the necessary steps to replace the lost <br />satellite with one of its in-orbit spare satellites," Iridium stated.<br /><br />But that's not the real problem.<br /><br />Using a computer model, British space debris expert Hugh Lewis predicted <br />10,000 tennis-ball-sized debris shards - more than triple the number <br />created in China's anti-satellite weapon test in January 2007. "There <br />was more energy here than in the Chinese ASAT test so we'll see more <br />debris," he was quoted as saying by New Scientist.<br /><br />Iridium spokeswoman Liz DeCastro said the company had had no advance <br />warning of an impending collision. "If the organisations that monitor <br />space had that information available, we are confident they would have <br />shared it with us." The company (or its subcontractor Boeing) apparently <br />did not perform own analyses.<br /><br />Retired U.S. Air Force General John Campbell, Iridium's executive vice <br />president for government programmes, in 2007 told a forum <br /><<span class="Object"><span class="Object">http://www.marshall.org/pdf/materials/554.pdf</span></span>> hosted by the George C. <br />Marshall Institute that Iridium had been receiving a weekly average of <br />400 conjunction reports from the U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Space <br />Operations Center.<br /><br />"The ability actually to do anything with all the information is pretty <br />limited," he said, describing a kind of data overload. The conjunction <br />reports were issued every time a potential threat object was to pass <br />within five kilometers of a commercial satellite, he said.<br /><br />It has been pointed out that Russia was also to blame for the incident. <br />Certainly Russian officials could have warned Iridium or its <br />subcontractor Boeing of the possibility of an impending collision. <br />However, we will never know whether Iridium or Boeing would have reacted <br />to such a warning -- or ignored it like the warnings from USSTRATCOM.<br /><br />Iridium spokeswoman Elizabeth Mailander confirmed that the company never <br />performed a single collision avoidance manoeuvre in the entire history <br />of its satellite constellation.<br /><br />/Last updated: 16 February 2009/<br /><br />-- </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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Testing

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Unsure of the source for this....still checking: (other than it came from the meteorobs list)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Iridium 33&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;* *Owner:* Iridium LLC <http://www.iridium.com&gt; &nbsp;* *Technical operator:* The Boeing Co. <http://www.boeing.com&gt; under&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;subcontract&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;* *Manufacturer: *Motorola, Inc. <http://www.motorola.inc&gt;</p><p>Lockheed Martin built all Iridium spacecraft. Motorola built the comm gear.<br /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>http://celestrak.com/cgi-bin/searchSOCRATES.plThis site tracks space objects. Every day, objects come within a few hundred feet of one another, and close at orbital velocities. Most of this is debris which is free floating.&nbsp;Hearing that the Iridium was operational, but not moved is truly a National disgrace. Space Command should be in charge of keeping space as safe as possible. They should move ALL capable bodies that have an unacceptable risk of collision.&nbsp; The ISS can only withstand a 1cm hit. There are more than 200000 of those bodies orbiting. Most of them are not tracked. A GAO report from the early 90s predicted an ISS catastrophe.&nbsp; This topic comes up when something gets hit. Then it goes away until something else gets hit. The Domino effect IS in progress. It is a peculiar Domino effect, in that it is going to take a long time for it to heat up. All experts I've read are certain that this problem will get worse.&nbsp;&nbsp;Again, ALL maneuverable spacecraft MUST be under control of one Space Traffic Control regime. We can work it out on the ground&nbsp; but we cannot work it out in space. We need to start getting this squared away today.&nbsp;NASA needs to research space debris. Every time that comes up it is deemed to be too expensive. I do hope that they come up with a solution soon.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by job1207</DIV></p><p>I understand the main impediment to Space Command is funding.&nbsp; They are not adequately funded to act as an international space traffic control.&nbsp; As it is, they mainly concentrate on keeping ISS and Hubble safe.</p><p>I agree that an international space traffic control needs to be created.&nbsp; Sooner or later, all spacefaring nations are going to have realize that cooperation is vital the future of our planet, and in more ways than just this one. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p>Excerpt from new SDC article:</p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">Although the Air Force operates a space surveillance network that currently tracks some 19,000&nbsp;orbital objects, some as small as a baseball, the service cannot monitor all possible collision scenarios, experts said. Bob Hall, technical director of Analytical Graphics Inc. of Exton, Pa., said the Iridium 33-Cosmos 2251 collision was not even in the top 150 of potential close calls being monitored by his company during the week. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">"It wasn't even the closest of all predicted Iridium conjunctions," Hall said, referring to close approaches between satellites. &nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">Nick Johnson, an orbital debris expert with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, said it is not the Air Force's role to stay on top of every potential collision involving satellites in Earth orbit. He said that with enough resources, it might be possible to have such a capability, in which case Iridium's loss potentially could have been avoided. But he added that it is impossible to predict with certainty whether a collision between two space objects will occur and said there frequently are near-misses involving the Iridium system, which consists of 66 <span class="GramE">operating</span> satellites in low Earth orbit and eight in-orbit spares. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">"There's no such thing as space traffic control and that's one of the problems," added Higginbotham. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">http://www.space.com/news/090217-satelllite-crash-future.html</span></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p>http://www.spaceweather.com/</p><p>Has charts like this one showing orbits of the&nbsp;larger pieces of debris. This one shows the view with the Iridium orbit around the edge. The hollow circle is the largest piece, the dots are 8 other pieces being tracked..</p><p>The Cosmos 2251 orbit is the one coming toward an away from us in this view.</p><p>They also have another with the Kosmos around the edge and the Iridium tilted.</p><p><br /><img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/15/6/ff7e6478-a78d-4e51-b67d-a974905d1827.Medium.gif" alt="" /></p><p>And here's the view from above where the orbits cross.</p><p><br /><img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/8/0/18931199-b22e-4525-901d-0f240c53a74d.Medium.gif" alt="" /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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brandbll

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<p>Theoretical Question:&nbsp; Isn't this an aspect we could use the moon for?&nbsp; Could it be possible for us to start setting up satellite type equipment on the moon?&nbsp; That way, if something happens all the debris is right there and we can clean it all up if we want.&nbsp; And that way, if we decided to keep being irresponsible and NOT clean it up, like we are already doing, it's only junking up the Moon.&nbsp; And, if stuff breaks down on the Moon and we have a base up there we can re-use and recycle some of the broken stuff into usable items on the Moon.&nbsp; People always say there is little economic profit in going back to the moon, but if we focused on excavating sites to land these types of Satellite equipment, we could charge companies and&nbsp;it would be a profitable thing to do.&nbsp; Because let's face it, we keep up our current trend and we aren't even going to be able to launch another satellite let alone worry about it not colliding while staying in orbit...</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="3">You wanna talk some jive? I'll talk some jive. I'll talk some jive like you've never heard!</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Theoretical Question:&nbsp; Isn't this an aspect we could use the moon for?&nbsp; Could it be possible for us to start setting up satellite type equipment on the moon?&nbsp; That way, if something happens all the debris is right there and we can clean it all up if we want.&nbsp; And that way, if we decided to keep being irresponsible and NOT clean it up, like we are already doing, it's only junking up the Moon.&nbsp; And, if stuff breaks down on the Moon and we have a base up there we can re-use and recycle some of the broken stuff into usable items on the Moon.&nbsp; People always say there is little economic profit in going back to the moon, but if we focused on excavating sites to land these types of Satellite equipment, we could charge companies and&nbsp;it would be a profitable thing to do.&nbsp; Because let's face it, we keep up our current trend and we aren't even going to be able to launch another satellite let alone worry about it not colliding while staying in orbit... <br />Posted by brandbll</DIV><br /><br />Interesting idea, but there's a few problems to consider:</p><p>The moon is only in the sky for 12 hours a day.</p><p>The moon is very far away.</p><p>The moon is very dusty.</p><p>Each spot on the moon only has sunlight (for power) 14 days a month.</p><p>Juts a few off the top of my head.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p>New update from www.spaceweather.com:</p><p><font size="3"><strong><font color="#ff0000">"SATELLITE DEBRIS UPDATE: </font></strong></font>US Strategic Command has identified a new batch of fragments from the Feb. 10th satellite collision over northern Siberia. "The count is now at 49 pieces for Iridium 33 and 85 for Kosmos 2251," says Canadian satellite tracker Daniel Deak, who has prepared some 3D maps of the debris for readers of spaceweather.com. Click on the image to view a snapshot of Iridium fragments on Feb 20th"</p><p>Go to the site for&nbsp;more images such as indivual images for the two satellites<br />....</p><p><br /><img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/11/10/2bd44a89-d54d-4e60-8af7-648da2e9cf4a.Medium.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>It appears that some of the Kosmos debris has been placed in lower orbits, so will the the first to threaten spacecraft in lower orbits, as well as the first to reenter.</p><p>Edit, yes, here further down in the article:</p><p>"The Kosmos debris ranges in altitude from 260 to 1450 km, so some of the pieces now reach lower than the orbit of the ISS," points out Deak. "For the Iridium debris, the fragments are confined to orbits between 687 and 1127 km."</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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silylene

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<p>I should've chosen a wider height range&nbsp;when I&nbsp;listed all the&nbsp;operational satellites at risk.&nbsp; And I thought I was being a little bold.</p><p>I also want to point out that the paths of the Kosmos and the Iridium debris will continue to cross one another <em>perfectly, </em>in crossing polar orbits,&nbsp; &nbsp;The debris from one can collide with oncoming debris from the other, generating even more orbiting debris.&nbsp; Thus begins possibly the most likely chain reaction, producing more and more debris until the debris remaining is too small to shatter further.&nbsp; This growth in the number of debris pieces will be an exponential growth, slow at first, but increasing according to a power law, until all the larger pieces (perhaps marble size or greater) are consumed, and as the debris cloud becomes increasingly dispersed.</p><p>Just wonderful.&nbsp; And Iridium has never bothered to even make an orbital correction to date, despite receiving about 5 "conjunction reports" every week.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p align="center"><font size="1">petet = <font color="#800000"><strong>silylene</strong></font></font></p><p align="center"><font size="1">Please, please give me my handle back !</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I should've chosen a wider height range&nbsp;when I&nbsp;listed all the&nbsp;operational satellites at risk.&nbsp; And I thought I was being a little bold.I also want to point out that the paths of the Kosmos and the Iridium debris will continue to cross one another perfectly, in crossing polar orbits,&nbsp; &nbsp;The debris from one can collide with oncoming debris from the other, generating even more orbiting debris.&nbsp; Thus begins possibly the most likely chain reaction, producing more and more debris until the debris remaining is too small to shatter further.&nbsp; This growth in the number of debris pieces will be an exponential growth, slow at first, but increasing according to a power law, until all the larger pieces (perhaps marble size or greater) are consumed, and as the debris cloud becomes increasingly dispersed.Just wonderful.&nbsp; And Iridium has never bothered to even make an orbital correction to date, despite receiving about 5 "conjunction reports" every week. <br />Posted by petet</DIV><br /><br />Well, in the past, the 5 "conjunction reports a week" have proved to be false alarms. If you expend all your propellant (5x per week x 50 weeks per year = 250 a year)&nbsp; on false alarms, you will have none left in a short time. So if a guarantted one is predicted, you willbe out of fuel. </p><p>As was stated (I believe I copied it in this thread), the conjunction report for this event was nowhere near the closest ever; it's just that this one happened.</p><p>If the lifetime of your satellite is weeks instead of years because you respond to every false alarm, then there's no point to even bother to launch it.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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From Spaceweather.com:

SATELLITE DEBRIS: US Strategic Command is still cataloguing debris from the Feb. 10th satellite collision over northern Siberia. "The count is now at 109 catalogued fragments for Iridium 33 and 245 for Kosmos 2251," says satellite observer Daniel Deak, who has prepared some 3D maps of the debris for readers of spaceweather.com.
These maps reveal in full what earlier, less complete maps strongly hinted: Kosmos debris is scattered more widely than Iridium. "Kosmos fragments range in altitude from 250 km to 1690 km," says Deak. For comparison, "Iridium fragments range only from 525 km to 1092 km." Kosmos fragments descend all the way down to the 350 km orbit of the ISS. The space station is in little danger, however; most of the Kosmos scatter is over the Antarctic where the ISS does not go.

The total debris count now stands at 354 pieces. Says Deak, "There are surely more to come."
 
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3488

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Any idea Wayne as to why the Kosmos fragments would have scattered over a wider region than the Iridium ones?

I assume the even after the collision, the central masses of the debris fields would more or less follow the original preimpact orbits, with the fragments spreading out from those points, with the new origin being the point of impact?

As you can see, this is one thing I do not know a great deal about.

Andrew Brown.
 
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MeteorWayne

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3488":7132u1w6 said:
Any idea Wayne as to why the Kosmos fragments would have scattered over a wider region than the Iridium ones?

I assume the even after the collision, the central masses of the debris fields would more or less follow the original preimpact orbits, with the fragments spreading out from those points, with the new origin being the point of impact?

As you can see, this is one thing I do not know a great deal about.

Andrew Brown.
No idea really, just speculation. The Iridium satellite is a fairly compact cylinder (see images earlier in the thread if they are visible), I have no idea of the shape of a Kosmos sat. Perhaps the center of mass of the Iridium struck the Kosmos on it's outer edge, causing it to rapidly spin as it broke up. This would send the pieces off in different directions with different velocities relative to it's pre impact orbit.
 
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MeteorWayne

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First attempt to post an image here on the New SDC :)

This is from the spaceweather.com article above. There are many other views in the article on the site. Look for the staort on Feb 27.
 
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Testing

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The Iridium sat's are prism shaped Carbon composite structure. Only eyeball documentation from 15 years back. At that time I worked for a supplier to LMSC for the program and got the tour.
 
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CalliArcale

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MeteorWayne":3jx1e84k said:
No idea really, just speculation. The Iridium satellite is a fairly compact cylinder (see images earlier in the thread if they are visible), I have no idea of the shape of a Kosmos sat. Perhaps the center of mass of the Iridium struck the Kosmos on it's outer edge, causing it to rapidly spin as it broke up. This would send the pieces off in different directions with different velocities relative to it's pre impact orbit.
FYI, unlike Iridium, the name "Kosmos" isn't very meaningful. It's a generic designation for a great many Russian satellites. They even applied the name to a lot of failed deep space probes, back in the Soviet days when the government generally handled failures by saying "we meant to do that" whenever possible.

I bet there was a pressurized propellant tank that got ruptured. That would spread the debris.
 
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MeteorWayne

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2 close approches of Cosmos 2251 debris upcoming (according to latest calcs, which could change)
On Mar 23rd, 29 meters from Cosmos 494, on March 18th, 47 meters from Rapideye 5.
Both are pretty high speed 13.95 km/sec, more than 31,000 mph. (orbital velocity is ~ 17,500 mph about 7.8 km/sec)

On Wednesday two satellites come close (46 meters) Cosmos 2211 and Globalstar M051
 
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MeteorWayne

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It's the 3 month anniversery of the collision, spaceweather.com has a front page story with Daniel Deak's fantastic maps of the debris.

http://www.spaceweather.com/



"On Feb. 10th, 2009, Iridium 33 collided with Cosmos 2251 over northern Siberia, and the two satellites were shattered. US Strategic command has since catalogued 981 pieces of debris"

"A comparison of the two maps, Iridium 33 vs. Cosmos 2251, shows that the Cosmos satellite was not only broken into more pieces but also scattered more widely. "Sixteen pieces of Cosmos 2251 have already reentered Earth's atmosphere vs. only 9 pieces of Iridium 33," notes Deak.

Indeed, the Iridium satellite seems to have held together better than its Russian counterpart. One piece of Iridium wreckage is so large it may be seen with the unaided eye flashing every 4.7 seconds as it tumbles through the night sky."

 
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