Missile and spy satellite ‘dead’ nearly created disaster in Earth’s orbit

According to the sheet Space, thousands of pieces of debris extremely dangerous for spacecraft and other active space equipment would have nearly been blown across low Earth orbit, if two large pieces of space junk were a rocket body. and a “dead” satellite that doesn’t graze each other “by a hair’s breadth”.

Specifically, according to satellite monitoring and collision detection company LeoLabs, two pieces of space junk passed each other with an extremely small amplitude of 6 meters.

They are a rocket body and a spy satellite – the former Soviet Union’s Komos-3 and Cosmos 2361 – long decommissioned.

Missing and dead spy satellites almost created a disaster in Earth's orbit - Photo 1.

The area of ​​space just above the Earth’s sky has been turned into a giant landfill by humanity and has many potential dangers – Photo: MIT NEWS

Komos-3 is a missile used by the Soviet Union – Russia from 1964 to 2009, but the near-collision is said to be very old. Meanwhile, Cosmos 2361 is a spy satellite designed to intercept electronic signals such as radio communications and jam radar.

The incident occurred in what LeoLabs calls a “bad neighborhood” in a region of space called LEO, which stretches from an altitude of 950 to 1,050 kilometers from the ground, filled with many unused, inanimate objects. owner, abandoned for many years in orbit.

They form a huge pile of garbage in space and are extremely dangerous because if two pieces of space junk collide, they will shoot out countless fragments, which can create disaster. The Russian Soyuz spacecraft that leaked late last year is also suspected of being hit by a meteorite or small piece of junk, according to the conclusion of Roscosmos and NASA (the Russian-American space agency).

LeoLabs estimates there were 1,400 “near collisions” in this area between June and September 2022 alone.

These incidents highlight the need for new strategies to remove space junk from LEO as well as other areas above Earth’s atmosphere. According to NASA, there are currently nearly 30,000 other pieces of debris in orbit that the US Defense Bug is tracking, but there are many more lurking, too small to detect but still dangerous enough.

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