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Space debris from a Russian rocket narrowly missed a Chinese satellite

Space debris from a Russian rocket narrowly missed a Chinese satellite

This week, the early warning system hit the Chinese Center for Space Debris Monitoring and Application Loud Alert: Discover a possible collision of a Chinese satellite with a Russian object floating in space.

the tsinghua science satellite, The Chinese space agency, known as “Object 46026”, said it was supposed to have an “extremely dangerous encounter” with Russian missile debris. When testing an anti-satellite missile (as in) Russia destroyed a Soviet satellite in November and created a debris field.

Tsinghua and the ASAT wreck converged this week: however, came Too close not to collide. According to the China National Space Administration, the objects were moving in close distance 14.5 m apart from each other as reported in Weibo and vTranslated by Gizmodo. The United States made similar observations but could not confirm the exact distance.

Distance may not be measurable accurately

Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said it was “extremely unlikely” that Chinese tracking would determine that distance with an accuracy of better than 100 metres.

The United States has been in turmoil since it became known in November 2021 that the debris of the explosion of a Russian satellite too Starlink satellites of Elon Musk Which is likely to intersect with the wreckage of space debris launched by Russia. Russia blew up one of its satellites, creating a cloud of debris in Earth’s orbit.

Some of this debris will likely fall at similar heights to Starlink, the network of satellites that Elon Musk’s SpaceX has sent into orbit to send internet back to Earth. NASA Director Bill Nelson He also showed that he was angry.

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Nearby errors can increase

The orbit of the Chinese scientific satellite Tsinghua ranges from From 478 to 499 km above Earth’s surface, taking measurements of the atmosphere and gravity since its launch in 2020.

Nearby accidents and collisions are expected to increase as more objects are ejected into low Earth orbit and space debris creates more space debris, in a process known as Kessler syndrome. estimated 330 million pieces of debris It is currently located in space above Earth.