Dead Russian satellite, spent Chinese rocket likely to collide on Friday

Tonight, two large masses of space debris could collide and fill Earth's low orbit with scrap.

Two large masses of space debris may collide tonight, and fill the Earth’s low orbit with junk

An example of something like this occurred in 2009, when an active telecommunications satellite, Iridium 33, collided with the decommissioned Russian Kosmos-2251 satellite, causing an extremely large debris field of over 1,000 pieces of metal 10 cm which fortunately did not impact any further space junk and cause any further issues.

The collision - if it happens - would take place 991 km above Antarctica at 00:51 UTC on 16 October (8:51 pm EDT on 15 October).

In a tweet it said there was a greater than 10 per cent chance of the objects colliding, after warning of a 1 to 20 per cent chance of a collision on Thursday. The company deemed the potential crash to be a "very high risk".

Shortly after the time of probable collision, the CZ-4C stage will make a pass over the Kiwi Space radar tracking station in New Zealand.

Because objects are high above the ground, they pose no risk to anyone on earth.

"This is probably one of the potentially worst accidental collisions that we've seen for a while", Alice Gorman, space archaeologist at Flinders University in Australia, told ScienceAlert.

"Of course, it is the large size of these two bodies that make a collision more likely", he said. The satellite is a Russian Parus military satellite launched on February 22, 1989.

Possible collision of satellites on Friday.

According to Steel, a hyper-velocity impact would be highly-energetic, and it's expected the two objects would be smashed into millions of pieces.

The size and speed of the possible collision has the space industry on edge.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist on the Harvard-Smithsonian Heart for Astrophysics, said the 2 objects have been a defunct Soviet navigation satellite tv for pc known as Parus [Kosmos 2004] that launched in 1989 and a Chinese language rocket stage.

The concern over an increase in large collisions relates to the potential of triggering the Kessler Syndrome, where access to space becomes increasingly hard as more and more junk clutters orbit. "So lots and lots of uncontrollable pieces of debris".

"Most of the" space junk "is moving at very fast speed and can reach speeds of 18,000 miles per hour, almost seven times faster than a bullet, NASA explained".

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