A dead Soviet satellite and an abandoned Chinese rocket body hit each other in space this week, but escaped a catastrophe on Thursday night.
LeoLabs, a company that uses radar Track satellites and debris In space Said On Tuesday it was monitoring an “extremely high-risk” combination – an intersection of two objects in a circle around the Earth.
Since Friday, the company has used its radar array to track every two things as they pass overhead three or four times every day since Friday.
Statistics suggest that two large pieces of space junk missed each other 8 to 43 meters (26 to 141 feet) Thursday at 8:56 p.m.
On Wednesday, when the estimated miss distance was only 12 meters (19 feet), Leo Labs calculated a 10 percent chance that objects would collide.
This may seem small, but NASA regularly moves the International Space Station when there is only a 0.001 percent (1-in-100,000) chance of an orbiting laboratory or a large collision with an object.
Because both the Soviet satellite and the Chinese rocket body are bad, no one can get them out of each other’s way. If they collided with each other, an explosion would cause about 14 metric tons of TNT. Was about to explode, sending debris bills of direction everywhere, according to the astronomer Jonathan McDowell.
But when the rocket’s corpse passed over Leo Labs’ radar 10 minutes after it was aligned, there was only one thing – “no sign of debris,” the company tweeted.
“Bullets dodged,” McDowell said Said On Twitter. “But space debris is still a big problem.”
A collision may not pose a threat to anyone on Earth, as the satellites are 991 kilometers (616 miles) above the Earth and are crossing the Waddell Sea in Antarctica. But thousands of spacecraft fragments could pose a threat to Earth’s rabbit.
Experts at the Aerospace Corporation calculated the lowest collision rate: As of Thursday morning, only 1 in 23 billion units are estimated to have lost about 70 meters (230 feet) of each other.
“The space debris community is constantly warning of all these nearby aches, and we are not wrong or lying about it,” Ted Mualhapt, who oversees Aerospace Corporation’s space debris analysis, told Business Insider.
“Any of these is a less likely event, because the space is still very large. But when you take these things and combine them, sooner or later you’re going to see payments. By most of our models We are “outstanding for another big collision.”
Space collisions create dangerously fast-moving debris clouds
Approximately 130 million bits of space junk This time around the Earth, from abandoned satellites, spacecraft and other missions. The wreckage travels at about 10 times the speed of a bullet, which is extremely fast enough to cause catastrophic damage to critical equipment, no matter how small the pieces.
Such a hit could kill the astronauts on the astronaut.
The collision between the pieces of space junk exacerbates the problem as they break things down into smaller pieces.
“Whenever there is a big collision, it is a big change in the LEO [low-Earth orbit] Environment, “said Dan Sepperley, CEO of Leo Labs First told Business Insider.
Two events in 2007 and 2009 increased the amount of debris in low-Earth bit rabbits By about 70 percent.
The first was a Chinese test of an anti-satellite missile, in which China blew up one of its weather satellites. Then two years later, an American spacecraft suddenly collided with a Russian.
“Because of that, there’s a kind of debris belt here now,” Sieberley said.
India tested its own satellite missile in 2019, and that explosion was predictable. 6,500 pieces of debris Larger than an eraser.
The satellite that India launched weighed less than one metric ton.
In total, the Soviet satellite and the Chinese rocket body, which just handle each other, weigh about three metric tons (2,800 kilograms). Given their sheer size, a collision could create a significant cloud of dangerous debris.
High-risk satellite combinations are becoming more common
This is not the first time Leo Labs has alerted the world to the possibility of adding high-risk satellites. In January, the company took stock A possible collision between a dead space telescope and an old US Air Force satellite.
The objects did not crash, but Siperley said that because both satellites were “rejected, no one was actually keeping a close eye on them.”
The U.S. Air Force, which tracks government satellites, did not tell NASA about the possible collision, the space agency told Business Insider at the time.
He remembers the experts’ warnings about space junk more than he misses because he misses being close to her.
“We’ve been seeing a definite increase in the number of coincidences lately,” Dan Ultrog, an astronomer at Analytical Graphics, Inc., who discovered the rabbit debris, told Business Insider.
UltroGage uses a software system that collects and evaluates data collected over the past 15 years. Or the latest excitement in the Rabbit encounter, he added, “almost seems to coincide very well with the launch of new large-galactic spacecraft.”
The giant constellation he is referring to is a fleet of Internet satellites that companies like SpaceX, Amazon and OneWeb are planning to launch. In all, the company plans to launch more than 100,000 satellites by the end of the decade. SpaceX has already launched about 800 new satellites since May 2019.
The destruction of debris could end our access to space
If the spacecraft problem becomes extreme, a series of collisions could spiral out of control into an accidental area of debris and encircle the Earth. Donald J. Kessler, who worked for NASA’s Johnson Space Center and calculated it in a 1978 paper, has since known the possibility as a Kessler event, using such debris to re-protect spacelights. Can take hundreds of years to clear up.
“It’s a long-term effect that occurs over decades and centuries,” Mualhapt said. Told Business Insider In January. “Anything that creates a lot of debris is going to increase the risk.”
The number of objects in Earth’s bit rabbit could already have a Kessler-like effect – a risk that Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck described last week.
“It has a lot of impact on the opening side,” he said Told CNN Business“You have to try and weave between them,” he said [satellite] The stars.
This article was originally published by Commercial interior.
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