[amsat-bb] Re: Scratch two sats

Auke de Jong, VE6PWN sparkycivic at shaw.ca
Wed Feb 11 19:03:24 PST 2009

I wonder which particular object humbers these were?
Will they dissapear from the next set of Keps?
Was the russian one, a ham one?


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Andrew Koenig" <ke5gdb at gmail.com>
To: "Andrew Glasbrenner" <glasbrenner at mindspring.com>
Cc: <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 5:37 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Scratch two sats

> Let's hope that this doesn't happen to AO-51, AO-7 or any other birds that
> are still in use today.
> On another note, it's really quite a small world. Mark Matney (the orbital
> debris scientist) was our mentor for the Team America Rocket Challenge
> (TARC) rocket that we built at school. We actually thought about putting
> APRS in the rocket :-).  If I'm not mistaking, he was quite angry when the
> Chinese blew up that old meteorological satellite during the TARC class.
> 73 de KE5GDB
> On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 6:22 PM, Andrew Glasbrenner <
> glasbrenner at mindspring.com> wrote:
>> http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090211/ap_on_sc/satellite_collision
>> Iridium versus a Russian satellite, I wonder who'll get the ticket.
>> 73, Drew
>> CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Two big communications satellites collided in the
>> first-ever crash of two intact spacecraft 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.
>> "We knew this was going to happen eventually," said Mark Matney, an 
>> orbital
>> debris scientist at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
>> 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.
>> The collision involved an Iridium commercial satellite, which was 
>> launched
>> in 1997, and a Russian satellite launched in 1993 and believed to be
>> nonfunctioning. The Russian satellite was out of control, Matney said.
>> The Iridium craft weighed 1,235 pounds, and the Russian craft nearly a 
>> ton.
>> No one has any idea yet how many pieces were generated or how big they
>> might
>> be.
>> "Right now, they're definitely counting dozens," Matney said. "I would
>> suspect that they'll be counting hundreds when the counting is done."
>> As for pieces the size of micrometers, the count will likely be in the
>> thousands, he added.
>> There have been four other cases in which space objects have collided
>> accidentally in orbit, NASA said. But those were considered minor and
>> involved parts of spent rockets or small satellites.
>> Nicholas Johnson, an orbital debris expert at the Houston space center,
>> said
>> the risk of damage from Tuesday's collision is greater for the Hubble 
>> Space
>> Telescope and Earth-observing satellites, which are in higher orbit and
>> nearer the debris field.
>> At the beginning of this year there were roughly 17,000 pieces of manmade
>> debris orbiting Earth, Johnson said. The items, at least 4 inches in 
>> size,
>> are being tracked by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network, which is 
>> operated
>> by the military. The network detected the two debris clouds created
>> Tuesday.
>> Litter in orbit has increased in recent years, in part because of the
>> deliberate breakups of old satellites. It's gotten so bad that orbital
>> debris is now the biggest threat to a space shuttle in flight, surpassing
>> the dangers of liftoff and return to Earth. NASA is in regular touch with
>> the Space Surveillance Network, to keep the space station a safe distance
>> from any encroaching objects, and shuttles, too, when they're flying.
>> "The collisions are going to be becoming more and more important in the
>> coming decades," Matney said.
>> Iridium Holdings LLC has a system of 65 active satellites which relay 
>> calls
>> from portable phones that are about twice the size of a regular mobile
>> phone. It has more than 300,000 subscribers. The U.S. Department of 
>> Defense
>> is one of its largest customers.
>> The company has spare satellites, and it is unclear whether the collision
>> caused an outage. An Iridium spokeswoman had no immediate comment.
>> Initially launched by Motorola Inc. in the 1990s, Iridium plunged into
>> bankruptcy in 1999. Private investors relaunched service in 2001.
>> Iridium satellites are unusual because their orbit is so low and they 
>> move
>> so fast. Most communications satellites are in much higher orbits and 
>> don't
>> move relative to each other, which means collisions are rare.
>> Iridium Holdings LLC, is owned by New York-based investment firm 
>> Greenhill
>> &
>> Co. through a subsidiary, GHL Acquisition Corp., which is listed on the
>> American Stock Exchange. The shares closed Wednesday down 3 cents at 
>> $9.28.
>> ___
>> AP science writer Seth Borenstein in Washington and AP technology writer
>> Peter Svensson in New York contributed to this report.
>> _______________________________________________
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> -- 
> Andrew Koenig
> _______________________________________________
> Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
> Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program!
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