U.S., Russian satellites collide in space
A privately owned U.S. communications satellite collided with a defunct Russian satellite in the first such mishap in space, a U.S. military spokesman said on Wednesday.
The crash, which took place on Tuesday in low-earth orbit, involved a spacecraft of Iridium Satellite LLC and a Russian communications satellite, said Air Force Colonel Les Kodlick of the U.S. Strategic Command.
“We believe it’s the first time that two satellites have collided in orbit,” he said, adding the debris was potentially a problem for space operations.
The command’s Joint Space Operations Center was tracking 500 to 600 new bits of debris, some as small as 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) across, in addition to the 18,000 or so other man-made objects it has catalogued in space, Kodlick said.