Kamikaze Satellites ?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by artabr, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. artabr

    artabr New Member


    Original TFF thread on this topic.

    Russian general says U.S. may have planned satellite collision
    03/03/2009 13:01 MOSCOW, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - A collision between U.S. and Russian satellites in early February may have been a test of new U.S. technology to intercept and destroy satellites rather than an accident, a Russian military expert has said.

    According to official reports, one of 66 satellites owned by Iridium, a U.S. telecoms company, and the Russian Cosmos-2251 satellite, launched in 1993 and believed to be defunct, collided on February 10 about 800 kilometers (500 miles) above Siberia.

    However, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Leonid Shershnev, a former head of Russia's military space intelligence, said in an interview published by the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper on Tuesday that the U.S. satellite involved in the collision was used by the U.S. military as part of the "dual-purpose" Orbital Express research project, which began in 2007.

    Orbital Express was a space mission managed by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a team led by engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).

    According to the DARPA, the program was "to validate the technical feasibility of robotic, autonomous on-orbit refueling and reconfiguration of satellites to support a broad range of future U.S. national security and commercial space programs."

    Orbital Express was launched in March 2007 as part of the U.S. Air Force Space Test Program's STP-1 mission. It tested a prototype servicing satellite (ASTRO) and a surrogate next generation serviceable satellite (NextSat). The demonstration program met all the mission success criteria and was officially completed in July 2007.

    Shershnev claims the U.S. military decided to continue with the project to "develop technology that would allow monitoring and inspections of orbital spacecraft by fully-automated satellites equipped with robotic devices."

    The February collision could be an indication that the U.S. has successfully developed such technology and is capable of manipulating 'hostile satellites,' including their destruction, with a single command from a ground control center, the general said.

    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  2. jacksonco

    jacksonco New Member

    I can remember reading back in the early 80's during President Reagans tenure that using so called "killer satellites" was one of the ideas kicked around for the so called Star Wars project. Satellites crashing into enemy satellites, satellites armed with small missles, and satellites armed with lasers or charged particle beams were all considered as viable optins to disable enemy satellites during times of war.

    I doubt that the Russians claim that we brought down one of their satellites is valid. We would have tested on one of our older satellites and kept the test secret from the paranoid Russians. But then who know? But I would put the money on just too much junk orbiting up there. :cool:

  3. Marlin T

    Marlin T Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    New Mexico
    We do have a couple of satellites that are 'enroute' to other US satellites at this moment, so what the Russians are saying is true. But not in this case of the broadside collision above Serbia.

    There is a google earth application that shows the collision. I think it also shows all debris feild too.?.

    The bad thing about that collision is that it is above the space station. So as the debris starts to desend toward earth, the space station might be in jepordy.
  4. Marlin T

    Marlin T Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    New Mexico
    February 23, 2009

    Satellite Collision Debris Tracking in Google Earth

    [​IMG]Two satellites, Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251, made the news a couple of weeks ago when they accidentally collided 400 miles above the Earth. This was a rare occurrence, but the possibility of further collisions has now increased. The resulting orbital debris from the collisions is being tracked by Norad and other services. Celestrak is providing data on the debris from the collision. Rob Simpson of Orbiting Frog has released a Google Earth network link [​IMG] that lets you see the current orbital positions of some of the debris from the February collision. The file automatically updates with the current orbital positions. As you can see from the screenshot, much of the debris from the two satellites remain on a rough approximation of the same path as the two satellites (compare them to the 3D animation of the collision by James Stafford).
    [UPDATE 1110 ET: A short while after I posted this, I discovered James Stafford posted another debris tracker based on similar data. In his case, he used the GE plugin to dynamically track a few instances of the debris. Check it out here [​IMG]. What's cool about this is that by using the plugin he can update the positions several times a second for a very smooth animation of the real-time positions! Zoom in close to one of the debris markers to see it in action. Google Earth (the full application) can only update with network links one time per second, so this technique offers a way to show visualizations more smoothly by using the GE Plugin.]
    Related: See the orbital positions of all satellites in Google Earth from your browser
  5. kingnothingugm

    kingnothingugm Member

    Feb 7, 2009
    I agree Jacksonco. With the shear volume of manmade satellites orbiting the planet, it is amazing that collisions are so rare. With nearly 25,000 pieces of manmade debris totaling 2200 tons as of 1997, it's not as open and empty around our planet as we would like to believe. Objects included in that total are derelict equipment, discarded satellites and functioning satellites. Russia is, in my opinion, looking for a reason to whine. Of course, you never know if all that floating junk is actually functioning equipment in clever disguise.
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