Wednesday, January 29, 2020

2 satellites will narrowly avoid colliding at 32,800 mph over Pittsburgh on Wednesday

A collision would create a debris belt that would endanger spacecraft worldwide.
The The Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) orbits the Earth in this illustration.
(Image: © NASA)

Two defunct satellites will zip past each other at 32,800 mph (14.7 kilometers per second) in the sky over Pittsburgh on Wednesday evening (Jan. 29). If the two satellites were to collide, the debris could endanger spacecraft around the planet.
It will be a near miss: LeoLabs, the satellite-tracking company that made the prediction, said they should pass between 50 feet and 100 feet apart (15 to 30 meters) at 6:39:35 p.m. local time.
One is called the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS). Launched in 1983, it was the first infrared space telescope and operated for less than a year, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The other is called the Gravity Gradient Stabilization Experiment (GGSE-4), and was a U.S. Air Force experiment launched in 1967 to test spacecraft design principles, according to NASA. The two satellites are unlikely to actually slam into each other, said LeoLabs CEO Dan Ceperley. But predictions of the precise movements of fairly small, fast objects over vast distances is a challenge, Ceperley told Live Science. (LeoLabs' business model is selling improvements on those predictions.)

Why aren't these assholes required to remove their junk from space?

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