Thursday night (Oct. 15) could be more crowded and more dangerous in Earth orbit.
No. Two large pieces Space junk According to California-based trekking company LeoLabs, they are zooming in on the approaching approach that will take place on Thursday at 8:56 a.m. EDT (October 16, 0056 GMT).
The encounter will take place 616 miles (991 kilometers) off the coast of Antarctica over the South Atlantic Ocean. The latest calculations from LeoLabs raise the possibility of a collision here More than 10% – Considering that the combined mass of objects is approximately 6,170 lbs, a relatively large number. (2,800 kg) and they will barrel towards each other at a comparable speed of 32,900 miles per hour (52,950 km / h).
Space Junk Explained: Danger of Orbit Debris (Infographic)
May 2 through our latest CDM Current Risk Matrix: Miss Distance: 12 m (+ 18 / -12 m) Probability of collision:> 10%, relative to the size of the larger object object / y44QXyhHJKOctober 14, 2020
“This event is going to be very risk averse and will probably stay that way until the approach approaches.” LeoLabs tweeted today (October 14).
Also on Twitter, Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer and satellite tracker based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Identified two objects Paras (or Cosmos 2004) and the Chinese rocket stage as the defunct Soviet navigation satellite.
A scheduled “search-mode scan” is revealed shortly after a close approach, LeoLabs said in another tweet. And we should all keep our fingers crossed for a closer miss; McDowell said the smashup would “significantly (10 to 20 percent) increase” in the LEO debris environment. Another tweet. (“Leo” means “Lower Orbit.”)
Such a debris superslader phenomenon would not be unprecedented. In February 2009, for example, the operational Iridium commun 33 communications satellite collided with the fired Russian military satellite Cosmos 2251. 1,800 pieces of trackable debris By the following October-October, as well as many other small to find.
During anti-satellite tests conducted in 2007 and 2019 – humanity has also twice spread debris clouds on purpose. China And IndiaRespectively.
Such events, and Thursday night’s potential collision, highlight the growing danger that orbit debris poses for spaceflight and exploration. The International Space Station had to do Maneuver yourself from potential collisions For example, three times in 2020 alone. And as the cost of both launching and satellite development decreases, the Earth’s orbit will become increasingly crowded, often with crafts operated by related neophytes.
So the spaceflight community needs to come up with guidelines to reduce debris, and soon, Many experts say. Such guidelines may include a requirement that the rocket launches be spent shortly after launch, so that they do not become involved in a close encounter that will occur Thursday night in the South Atlantic.
Mike W. Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book about the quest for alien life. Follow him on Twitter મીMamildld. Follow us on Twitter @speed.com or Facebook.