A “worst-case scenario” was averted when two large pieces of space debris narrowly missed each other on Friday. LeoLabs.
LeoLabs said the debris included a disabled satellite Cosmos 2361 and an SL-8 rocket body, two of the countless pieces of space debris currently in low Earth orbit.
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according to NASAlow Earth orbit (or LEO) objects include objects orbiting our planet at an altitude of 1,200 miles (2,000 km) or less.
On Friday, Cosmos 2381 and the SL-8 rocket body nearly collided at an altitude of about 611 miles (984 km).
LeoLabs found that the two pieces of space debris passed each other by about 20 feet (6 meters), a margin of error of only a few tens of meters.
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“We defined this type of collision – between two large stray objects – as a ‘worst-case scenario’ because it is beyond our control and would likely result in a ripple effect of dangerous collisions,” LeoLabs said. tweet.
If Cosmos 2381 and the SL-8 rocket body collided, the collision would have resulted in thousands of new pieces of debris that would remain for decades, they said.
This close encounter is significant because it shows how much space debris is floating around in low Earth orbit.
According to LeoLabs, a layer of LEO only about 62 miles thick Contains approximately 160 SL-8 missile bodies and 160 payloads deployed 20 years ago.
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According to LeoLabs, this “bad neighborhood” in LEO lies between 950 and 1050 km altitude and continues to be a hot spot for colliding debris.
These collisions and near collisions in LEO remain the focus of many.
Because in addition to being populated with obsolete space debris, LEO region it is also considered a fairly close area Place For convenient transportation, communication, surveillance and supply, according to NASA.
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In fact, LEO is where it’s at International Space Station currently in orbit and where many proposed future platforms will be located.
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