Science

Satellites May Narrowly Avoid a Collision Tomorrow Night

Satellites May Narrowly Avoid a Collision Tomorrow Night”

GGSE-4, the Gravity Gradient Stabilization Experiment, was a science payload attached to the POPPY 5B US military surveillance satellite.

According to LeoLabs, a company that observes spacecraft trajectories, the two satellites-IRAS (13777), a decommissioned space telescope launched in 1983 and GGSE-4 (2828), an experimental US payload launched in 1967, are predicted to have a close-call encounter on Wednesday.

The National Aeronautics And Space Administration (NASA) has revealed important information regarding two defunct satellites that are supposed to zip past each other at 32,800 miles per hour today. It is 11.8 feet by 10.6 feet by 6.7 feet large and had a launch mass of 2,388 pounds. According to Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer Jonathan McDowell, Poppy 5 (AKA 1967-053G) -the decommissioned and only relatively recently declassified military satellite - is attached to another satellite. There is very little chance of the satellites crashing to Earth, as they are too far up to be dragged down by friction with Earth's atmosphere.

Space archaeologist Alice Gorman of Flinders University told ScienceAlert that such collisions have passed off in the beyond for sure. Experts say about this situation as one of the most unfavorable in recent times. While these satellites were launched in an era before they could be controlled on the ground, modern day satellites typically perform special maneuvers to avoid collisions if they come within 60 kilometers of an object. As such, the two satellites on course for collision are travelling at an extremely fast relative velocity of 14.7 kilometres per second. They could even collide about 560 miles above Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

According to NASA, in order for a satellite to stay in orbit with the Earth, the pull of gravity must be balanced with the object's speed.

"So you increase the number of pieces of space debris which increases the risk of colliding with a functioning satellite". And, at that speed, it's going to probably cause the smaller satellite to break up completely into smaller fragments.

LEOLabs, a California-based company that monitors space junk and satellites using ground-based radar, flagged this potential accident on Monday, posting an alert to Twitter. And each of those fragments becomes a piece of space debris in its own right.

If the two satellites were to collide, the debris could endanger spacecraft around the planet. "We will continue to monitor this event through the coming days and provide updates as available", tweeted Leo Labs Inc. In 2009 a decommissioned Russian satellite, Cosmos-2251, and an active USA satellite, Iridium 33, collided.



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