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Russia defeats China: Greatest conflict in orbit in more than 10 years

Russia defeats China: Greatest conflict in orbit in more than 10 years


The Chinese satellite collided with parts of the Russian rocket stage in orbit. This is the largest collision in Earth’s orbit in decades. The incident was discovered by an independent expert. However, the questions were not answered.

There has not been such a big collision in orbit since 2009

Over the years, experts have been warning that the Earth’s orbit is tightening as the number of rocket launches and satellite launches increases significantly. As more and more objects move their orbits around our planet, there is a greater chance of collisions – and many launches are still being carried out without a return schedule to areas in space. Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer and satellite observer working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astronomical Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, now reports the worst collision in 10 years.

According to the expert, he discovered an update on the “collision with the satellite” in the list of objects in orbit, making it available to registered users of the 18th Space Control Force of the US Space Force (18SPCS). More precisely, it is the Chinese military satellite Yunhai 1-02. McDowell said he had “never seen an entry like a satellite”. It is not clear to the expert from the data on which object the collision occurred in the first place.

After an analysis, the expert was able to determine a possible link: Material 48078, which collided with Yunhai 1-02, was only detected during the crash and added to the database. Further analysis shows that this is debris 10 to 50 centimeters wide from the Zenit-2 rocket, which was used to launch the Russian spy satellite Desalina-2 in September 1996.

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It gets worse

As McDowell points out, 37 debris from the collision are currently known – and many more are yet to be recorded. The expert describes the incident Interview with Space.com As “the biggest orbital collision since 2009”. McDowell concludes with a clear warning: “Collisions are proportional to the square of the number of objects in orbit. That is, if you have 10 times as many satellites, there are 100 times as many collisions.”

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