US, Russia satellite collision not to delay Chinese space programme

February 13th, 2009 - 4:40 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Feb 13 (ANI): The wreckage of US and Russian satellites that collided over Siberia poses a threat to Chinese satellites in orbit, but the latters space plan will proceed as scheduled.

A privately owned US communications spacecraft collided with a defunct Russian military satellite about 800 km above northern Siberia at 4:55 pm GMT on Tuesday, the China Daily reported.

The 560-kg US satellite, of Iridium Holdings LLC, was launched in 1997 and the Russian Cosmos-2251, weighing almost a ton, was sent in space in 1993.

Chinese scientists are monitoring the debris to gauge the potential threat to the countrys satellites, said Tang Bochang, co-designer of Chinas first spaceship Shenzhou I.

He added that Chinas space exploration program, including sending a space laboratory module next year would not be delayed.

About 4,000 satellites and used rocket parts, apart from about 6,000 pieces of debris that can be seen, are traveling in space around 20,000 km an hour, according to NASA.

The two satellites wreckage poses little threat to the International Space Station, about 1,200 km above the Earths surface, NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency both said yesterday. (ANI)

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