“Apollo-Soyuz”:http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/history/astp/astp.html it ain’t.
For those who haven’t heard, the _Washington Post_ “sums it up”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/11/AR2009021103387.html thusly:
The Pentagon and NASA are scrambling to assess the risk to spacecraft and the international space station from hundreds of pieces of debris created in the collision Tuesday of two satellites 491 miles above Siberia. NASA’s initial estimate is that the space station faces a “very small” but “elevated” risk of being struck.
The situation is unprecedented. Scraps of spacecraft and other orbital junk have crashed together previously, but this was the first incident involving two intact satellites. One was an Iridium satellite launched in 1997 and used for the company’s satellite telephone network; the other, a Russian Cosmos satellite launched in 1993, had been non-operational for a decade, NASA and Pentagon officials said.
“Geoff Forden told you so”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/2185/the-future-is-now. He “did”:http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2008/0327satellite.shtml! So did “David Wright”:http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200806/spacedebris.cfm, “a whole bunch of guys from NASA”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/06/science/space/06orbi.html, and probably lots of others besides. It’s funny how low-probability events have a way of becoming high-probability events if enough time passes. Which it does, pretty gosh-darn consistently.
Iridium says “the following”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/science/space/12satellite.html:
In a statement, the company said that it had “lost an operational satellite” on Tuesday, apparently after it collided with “a nonoperational” Russian satellite.
“Although this event has minimal impact on Iridium’s service,” the statement added, “the company is taking immediate action to address the loss.” The company’s hand-held phones can be used anywhere around the globe to give users voice and data communications.
Inquiring minds want to know what, ahem, “impact”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/business/media/12radio.html this will have on a Sirius XM buyout. What with the heightened risk of a space debris chain reaction in low earth orbit.
I kid. But seriously, folks, could we avoid using “impact” in a metaphorical sense here?
Oh, and one other thing. Could we rethink this whole ASAT war business now? What do you say?
Get your musical bonus “here”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb9By-lODgk.