Monday, 11 March 2013

Russian Satellite Hit by Debris from Chinese Anti-Satellite Test

A small Russian spacecraft in orbit appears to have been struck by Chinese space junk from a 2007 anti-satellite test, likely damaging the Russian craft, possibly severely, has learned.
The space collision appears to have occurred on Jan. 22, when a chunk of China's Fengyun 1C satellite, which was intentionally destroyed by that country in a 2007 anti-satellite demonstration, struck the Russian spacecraft, according to an analysis by the Center for Space Standards & Innovation (CSSI) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
CSSI technical program manager T.S. Kelso reported that the collision involved the Chinese space junk and Russia's small Ball Lens In The Space (BLITS) retroreflector satellite, a 17-pound (7.5 kilograms). The Fengyun 1C satellite debris was created during China's anti-satellite test on Jan. 11, 2007, and has posed a threat to satellites and crewed spacecraft ever since.
Evidence of the space junk collision was first reported on Feb. 4 by Russian scientists Vasiliy Yurasov and Andrey Nazarenko, both with the Institute for Precision Instrument Engineering (IPIE) in Moscow. They reported a "significant change" in the orbit of the BLITS satellite to the CSSI. [Watch the Animation: Russian Satellite Hit by Space Junk]

It is not immediately clear whether the satellite is merely wounded or completely incapacitated.
The space collision is the second substantial in-space accident between an active spacecraft and a defunct satellite or piece of space debris. In February 2009, a U.S. communications satellite was destroyed when it was hit by a defunct Russian military satellite, creating a vast debris cloud in orbit.

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