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Leolabs informs about possible satellite collision for today in the USA

Source: The VergeSource: The Verge

It was reported earlier this week by the LeoLabs space debris tracking service that there is a chance that two inactive satellites in low Earth orbit will collide above the USA. If the two devices actually meet, there is the possibility of damage both to US citizens and to other satellites that are in orbit around the earth.

If the collision occurs, the shock results in several fragments that can cause damage to nearby satellites

If the satellite collision does occur, the shock will result in several fragments that could cause damage to nearby satellites and to the inhabitants of our planet.

Illustrative image of satellites on earth. Source: theconversationIllustrative image of satellites on earth. Source: theconversation

At the beginning of the week LeoLabs posted on Twitter informing that astronomers are monitoring satellites from 2 decades old and that, according to their calculations, they can reach a distance of 13 to 87 meters from each other. The chance of collision from 1 to 1000.

Even if the chance of collision between the satellites is very small, the probability still represents a great risk for the space industry (in case of damage to other nearby satellites due to debris). Harvard Astrophysics Center astronomer Jonathan McDowell told CNN that the possible collision is very worrying.

According to LeoLabs, the size of the satellites contributes to the possibility of collision. Jonathan says:

"It's not as unlikely as it usually is. We start to worry when 1 in 10,000, then 1 in 1,000 is unusual and can be much worse than that"

The satellites in question are the NASA-owned IRAS telescope, launched in 1983, and the US Naval Research Laboratory spy satellite GGSE-4, launched in 1967. The forecast is that the satellites will meet tonight. fair above the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Telescope IRAS belonging to NASA. Source: NASATelescope IRAS belonging to NASA. Source: NASA

The most recent update of Leolabs, occurred at 12:51 pm and says that there will be a distance of 12m between the satellites and the probability of collision from 1 to 100. However, according to the laboratory team, if the calculations taking into account that the satellites are larger (increasing the radius from 5m to 10m), the chance of collision from 1 to 20.

The Leolabs team also says that although the collision between the satellites is unlikely to occur, its radar infrastructure will be configured to track for a longer time after the event, in an attempt to look for possible debris.

Source: CNN, Leolabs (Twitter)

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