June 13, 2024

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Satellite and rocket object miss collision by just 20 feet in what would have been a ‘worst case scenario’

Satellite and rocket object miss collision by just 20 feet in what would have been a ‘worst case scenario’

The “worst-case scenario” was thwarted on Friday when two large pieces of space debris collided with each other, according to… Leolabs.

LeoLabs said the debris included the defunct satellite Cosmos 2361 and the fuselage of the SL-8 rocket, two of the countless pieces of space debris currently in low Earth orbit.

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to me NASAObjects in Low Earth Orbit (or LEO) include objects orbiting our planet at altitudes of 1,200 miles (2,000 km) or less.

On Friday, Kosmos 2381 and the SL-8 rocket object nearly collided at an altitude of about 611 miles (984 km).

LeoLabs determined that the two pieces of space debris missed each other by about 20 feet (6 meters), with a margin of error of only a few tens of meters.

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“We have identified this type of collision — between two discarded objects — as a ‘worst-case scenario’ because it is largely out of our control and likely to result in a ripple effect of serious collision encounters,” LeoLabs said in a statement. tweet.

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They said that if the body of the Cosmos 2381 rocket and SL-8 had collided with each other, the collision would have generated thousands of new debris fragments that would remain for decades.

This close collision is important because it shows how much space debris is floating around in low Earth orbit.

According to LeoLabs, the LEO layer is Only about 62 miles thick It contains an estimated 160 SL-8 missile bodies, along with its 160 payloads, that have been deployed for more than 20 years.

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LeoLabs said this “bad neighborhood” in low Earth orbit lies between altitudes of 950 and 1,050 kilometers and remains a debris collision hotspot.

These collisions and near collisions in LEO remain top of mind for many.

Because in addition to being populated by defunct space debris, LEO district It is also considered an area close enough to a land For convenient transportation, communication, monitoring and resupply, according to NASA.

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In fact, LEO is where it’s at International Space Station current orbits and where many of the proposed future platforms will be located.