Two Large Satellites Nearly Smashed Into Each Other High Above Pittsburgh
Scientists fear a cloud of space debris could cause a chain reaction that destroys many more satellites
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January 29, 2020 - by Eric Mack for forbes.com
Low earth orbit is not presently littered with hundreds of new pieces of space debris after two dead satellites in danger of colliding appear to have passed by each other without incident.
LeoLabs previously warned that its ground radar systems were tracking a potential "conjunction" of the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) launched in 1983 and the experimental GGSE-4 satellite launched for the U.S. Air Force in 1967. The firm estimated that the two spacecraft, which are pretty big by space junk standards, would pass within a football field of each other, if not much closer.
The odds of a collision vacillated a bit, but were at about 1 in 100, which is way, way too close for comfort by space standards.
The impact would have...
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