The “worst case scenario” was thwarted on Friday when two large pieces of space debris were just off each other. Leo Lab.
LeoLabs says the wreckage contained a defunct satellite Cosmos 2361 The SL-8 rocket body is one of the myriad pieces of space debris currently in low earth orbit.
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according to NASALow Earth Orbit (or LEO) objects include objects that orbit the Earth at altitudes 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 determined that the two pieces of space debris were about 20 feet (6 meters) apart from each other, within a margin of error of only a few tens of meters.
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LeoLabs has identified this type of collision between two large derelict objects as a ‘worst-case scenario’ because it is largely uncontrollable and likely to have the ramifications of a dangerous collision encounter. I did.” Tweet.
They said that if Cosmos 2381 and the SL-8 rocket body collided with each other, the collision would create thousands of new debris fragments that would remain for decades.
This close collision is important because it shows how much space debris is suspended in low Earth orbit.
According to LeoLabs, the layers of LEO are Only about 62 miles thick Contains an estimated 160 SL-8 rocket bodies and 160 payloads deployed over 20 years ago.
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According to LeoLabs, this “bad region” of LEO is located between 950 and 1050 km altitude and continues to be a debris impact hotspot.
These collisions and near-collisions in LEO are still on the minds of many.
In addition to the presence of non-functioning space debris, Leo region Also considered a close enough area earth According to NASA, for convenient transportation, communications, observation, and resupply.
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In fact, LEO is international space station It is currently in orbit and will be populated with a number of proposed future platforms.