Satellites Collide in Orbit
Do satellites ever collide with one another in space? Yes. In fact, it just happened.
A derelict Russian satellite, defunct for the past ten years, collided with an operational-until-just-now communications satellite operated by Iridium LLC. The debris created by the accident is not a big threat to the International Space Station.
In an unprecedented space collision, a commercial Iridium communications satellite and a defunct Russian satellite ran into each other Tuesday above northern Siberia, creating a cloud of wreckage, officials said today. The international space station does not appear to be threatened by the debris, they said, but it's not yet clear whether it poses a risk to any other military or civilian satellites.
So do they trade insurance info?
Asked which satellite was at fault, Johnson said "they ran into each other. Nothing has the right of way up there. We don't have an air traffic controller in space. There is no universal way of knowing what's coming in your direction."
Other satellites may be at risk from the newly-created debris, as the full risk analysis is not yet complete.
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