Satellite collision debris no threat to ISS: Russian space agency

February 12th, 2009 - 3:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Feb 12 (RIA Novosti) The debris from the collision Tuesday involving two communications satellites poses no threat to the International Space Station (ISS), a spokesman for Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said Thursday.
Alexander Vorobyov said that while Roscosmos could not confirm the origin of the satellites, the risk to the ISS and its crew was minimal.

“There are no registered losses in the Roscosmos satellite grouping,” Vorobyov added.

NASA said earlier that one of 66 satellites privately owned by Iridium, a US telecom company, and a Russian satellite launched in 1993 and believed to be defunct collided on Tuesday “in the first-ever crash of two intact spacecraft in orbit.”

According to NASA, the collision occurred nearly 805 km over Siberia and a “flash” would have been visible in the night sky.

“This was the worst such incident that has ever occurred,” Nicholas Johnson of NASA’s Johnson Space Center said.

Space collisions are rare events and normally involve parts of spent rockets or mini-satellites.

“It will be weeks at least before the true magnitude of these clouds are known,” NASA also said. “The risk to the space station is considered to be very small and within acceptable limits.”

Analysts expect the wreckage from the collision to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

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