The “worst case scenario” was thwarted Friday when two large pieces of space debris narrowly collided, according to laboratoriosleo.
LeoLabs said the debris included the missing satellite. space 2361 and an SL-8 rocket body, which are two of the countless pieces of space debris currently in low-Earth orbit.
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According to POTLow Earth Orbit (or LEO) objects involve objects that orbit our planet at an altitude of 1,200 miles (2,000 km) or lower.
On Friday, Cosmos 2381 and the SL-8 rocket body nearly collided at an altitude of approximately 611 miles (984 km).
LeoLabs determined that the two pieces of space debris missed each other by about 6 meters (20 feet), with a margin of error of only a few tens of meters.
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“We have identified this type of collision, between two massive abandoned objects, as the ‘worst case’ because it is largely out of our control and would likely result in a domino effect of dangerous collision encounters,” LeoLabs said in a statement. . cheep.
They said that if Cosmos 2381 and the body of the SL-8 rocket had crashed into each other, the collision would have resulted in thousands of new pieces of debris that would linger for decades.
This near collision is significant because it illustrates the amount of space debris floating around in low-Earth orbit.
According to LeoLabs, a layer of LEO that is only about 62 miles thick it contains approximately 160 SL-8 rocket bodies, along with their 160 payloads, which were deployed more than 20 years ago.
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This “bad neighborhood” in LEO, LeoLabs said, is located between altitudes of 950 and 1050 km and remains a hotspot for debris collisions.
These collisions and near misses in LEO are still top of mind for many.
Because in addition to being populated with extinct space debris, the leo region is also considered an area close enough to Land for convenient transportation, communication, observation and resupply, according to NASA.
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In fact, LEO is where the International Space Station It currently orbits and where many proposed future platforms will be located.
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