Printer Friendly

Radar station tracks debris of satellites collision.

A BRITISH radar station was last night tracking the debris clouds formed by the collision of two large communications satellites - thought to be the first-ever crash between two intact orbiting spacecraft.

Operators at the state-of-theart tracking station at RAF Fylingdales RAF Fylingdales is a British Royal Air Force station on Lockton High Moor in the North York Moors, England. It is a radar base and part of the United States-controlled Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS). , high on the North Yorkshire North Yorkshire, county (1991 pop. 698,800), 3,209 sq mi (8,313 sq km), N England. The county comprises the districts of Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough, Selby, and York.  Moors, which happened nearly 500 miles over Siberian Russia, were attempting to assess the risk posed by the pieces of wreckage, including any danger to the manned International Space Station.

The Fylingdales base forms part of a worldwide network of powerful radars and tracks all object in orbit bigger than 10cm as well as providing early warning of any incoming ballistic missile attack.

Tuesday's collision involved an American Iridium iridium (ĭrĭd`ēəm), metallic chemical element; symbol Ir; at. no. 77; at. wt. 192.22; m.p. about 2,410°C;; b.p. about 4,130°C;; sp. gr. 22.55 at 20°C;; valence +3 or +4.  commercial satellite, launched in 1997, and an old Russian satellite - Cosmos 2251, launched in 1993.

The 900kg Russian craft was defunct and the 500kg Iridium satellite was one of a network of 66 around the world used by satellite telephones.

According to Nasa scientist Mark Matney, the Russian satellite was out of control.

Mr Matney said no-one knew how many pieces of debris had been created.

He said: "Right now, they're definitely counting dozens. I would suspect that they'll be counting hundreds when the counting is done."

There have been four other cases in which space objects have collided accidentally in orbit, Nasa said. But those were considered minor and involved parts of spent rockets or small satellites.

Nasa believes any risk to the International Space Station and its three astronauts should be low as it orbits about 270 miles below the collision course.

There also should be no danger to the space shuttle set to launch with seven astronauts on February 22, officials said.

Dr Jill Stuart, from the London School of Economics The School is a member of the Russell Group, the European University Association, Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Community of European Management Schools and International Companies, The Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs as well as the Golden , said the collision threw up interesting questions for "outer space lawyers" who will now have to sort out how who is financially liable for the collision.
COPYRIGHT 2009 MGN Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 Reader Opinion

Title:

Comment:



 

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 13, 2009
Words:314
Previous Article:Conmen used OAP's cash to buy her a meal.
Next Article:City MP locks horns with PM in 'high rail fares' row; New 'transport champion' annoys Brown.
Topics:

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters