Iridium satellite collides with Russian satellite

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9555_handset Mobile satellite phone service provider Iridium found one of its orbiting satellites knocked offline when it collided with a non-working Russian satellite 500 miles above Siberia on Tuesday. According to NASA, debris from the accident is potentially dangerous although it’s “very small and within acceptable limits.” The debris will be tracked by scientists.

Bethesda, Maryland-based Iridium said that some of its wireless clients may experience outages but the company plans to have systems working normally by today and plans to launch a backup satellite in less than a month. Iridium states that the collision was an “extremely unusual, very low-probability event.”

The Russian military satellite was launched back in 1993 and apparently malfunctioned within two years. NASA’s planned launch of Space Shuttle Discovery at the end of the month will not likely be affected by the crash and the International Space Station is out of harm’s way but is capable “of doing a debris-avoidance maneuver if necessary,” according to NASA.

[via BBC News]

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