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Space Science

Satellite Collision Debris May Hamper Space Launch 131

Matt_dk writes "The debris from a recent collision involving two communications satellites could pose a serious threat for future launches of spacecraft into a geostationary orbit, a Russian scientist said on Friday. Future launches will have to be adjusted with regard to the fact that the debris [from the collision] has spread over an 800-km area and will gather at a common orbit in 5-6 years."
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Satellite Collision Debris May Hamper Space Launch

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  • Re:Geostationairy? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 21, 2009 @09:41PM (#26945483)

    to get into geostationary you have to pass the 300 mile mark. If you were to hit anything on the way.. bad stuff!

  • Re:Geostationairy? (Score:5, Informative)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @10:03PM (#26945573) Homepage

    > I thought the collision was at like 300mi altitude. Now they'r saying this causes
    > problems at Geosynchronous orbit?

    > What am I missing?

    The fact that in order to get from here to there one must cross the intervening space.

    > I thought GEO was at like 30,000 miles above the earth.

    Closer to 22,000.

    > I didn't think the shuttle planned on traveling that high anyway.

    Some of the wreckage was scattered into orbits that could intersect that of the Shuttle while it is on its way to Hubble.

  • by Xolotl ( 675282 ) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @04:18AM (#26947141) Journal

    if you blast it from down here, you're bound to hit something that points towards the earth. That means the materials vaporized will be pushed towards earth, giving whatever you're shooting at a boost towards a higher orbit.

    It doesn't work like that. A push directly away from the Earth will not give a 'higher' orbit (one with more angular momentum), it will change the shape of the orbit (the eccentricity). Essentially the orbit will become longer and thinner, and at a different point in the orbit it will be lower and start to brush against the atmosphere, thus invoking atmospheric drag.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @09:35AM (#26948095) Homepage

    The bits of stuff already have random orbits. Since you would be tracking while zapping you would know the new orbit of your current target at least as well as you knew the old one. The orbit is not going to be changed drastically: just enough to drop the perigee down to perhaps 150 miles. The atmosphere will take it from there.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.