Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Space is a Big Place - But Not Big Enough

Big Satellites Collide 500 miles Over Siberia

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Two big communications satellites collided
in the first-ever crash of its kind in orbit, shooting out a pair of massive debris clouds and posing a slight risk to the international space station. NASA said it will take weeks to determine the full magnitude of the crash, which occurred nearly 500 miles over Siberia on Tuesday.

NASA believes any risk to the space station and its three astronauts is low.
It orbits about 270 miles below the collision course. There also should be no danger to the space shuttle set to launch with seven astronauts on Feb. 22, officials said, but that will be re-evaluated in the coming days.

"We knew this was going to happen eventually," said Mark Matney,
an orbital debris scientist at Johnson Space Center in Houston.


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