Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Crashing satellites

Do you have any idea how crowded space is, at least that envelope surrounding Earth?

It's crowded enough for this to happen.

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 should be 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.

And that's why we have these guys looking out for things. Keep a good eye out, fellas. There's more junk out there now.

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