Space Junk Almost Destroyed Another Satellite

BY KISHALAYA KUNDU Originally Published

BY KISHALAYA KUNDU Originally Published 1/22/2022

The increasing amount of space debris is becoming a major cause for concern, and recent events, like the anti-satellite weapons test by Russia last November, are only exacerbating the problem. The Russian anti-satellite test has been widely criticized, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken describing it as "reckless." The debris from the test is now not only creating problems for satellites in orbit but also physically threatening astronauts on the space station.

The controversial test took place last November when Russia blew up the Cosmos 1408 spy satellite that it initially launched into orbit in 1982. It operated only for about two years before breaking down and had since remained in orbit before it was destroyed on Nov. 15, 2021. The test reportedly generated over 1,500 pieces of "trackable orbital debris" that could pose a significant risk to the International Space Station, existing satellites, and future spaceflight missions.


Space debris from Russia's ill-conceived anti-satellite test reportedly came within 14.5 meters (47 feet) of China's Tsinghua science satellite this week. According to the China National Space Administration (CNSA), the near-miss between Tsinghua and the piece of debris, identified as 49863, occurred at 02:49 GMT on Tuesday, Jan. 18. The two objects passed each other at a relative speed of more than 11,700 miles per hour, and a collision could have knocked out the Tsinghua for good. China Space News posted the collision warning earlier this week on the Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo


Space debris from Russia's ill-conceived anti-satellite test reportedly came within 14.5 meters (47 feet) of China's Tsinghua science satellite this week. According to the China National Space Administration (CNSA), the near-miss between Tsinghua and the piece of debris, identified as 49863, occurred at 02:49 GMT on Tuesday, Jan. 18. The two objects passed each other at a relative speed of more than 11,700 miles per hour, and a collision could have knocked out the Tsinghua for good. China Space News posted the collision warning earlier this week on the Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo..

Space debris was already a significant problem even before the aforementioned anti-satellite missile test, but Russia's action just made the whole situation that much worse. The test has generated thousands of pieces of orbital debris of varying sizes that have significantly added to the space junk problem, which had already reached catastrophic proportions. In fact, the situation is so acute that researchers now say the earth might soon get Saturn-like rings made out of space junk.

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