For some time this week, it appears that there may be an impact in orbit around the Earth between two pieces of space debris that could damage other satellites. Two pieces of space debris included a decommissioned Soviet satellite and a discarded Chinese booster rocket. The two were on their way to each other Thursday night and missed close clashes.
A company called LeoLabs, a private space tracking company, uses ground-based radar to track space objects and had predicted the chance of a collision of 10 percent or higher. The company’s CEO said that while there was a high chance of a collision, the situation was not uncommon. The U.S. military had predicted an almost zero percent chance that the objects would collide.
The military made its estimates based on data from the largest radar and telescopic network in the world. A scientist from the University of Texas at Austin, Moriba Jah, has been trying to raise public awareness of the vast abundance of space debris orbiting the planet. He says there is a constant risk of collision, and this latest ordeal was the latest evidence of the need for an international effort to track space debris.
Jah says his data shows that there are dozens of potential collisions happening at any given time. He also said the decommissioned satellite and rocket amplifier were expected to come within 72 meters of each other. But he was also unable to determine whether the objects would collide or not before the event passed.
LeoLabs CEO said his company wanted to raise public awareness of the event because the two objects were large and were in a relatively clean orbit compared to those nearby. The company will also raise general awareness of the problem of space debris to encourage the private sector to clean up. He said several times a week satellites come within 1