Saturday, March 9, 2013

Chinese ASAT hits Russian satellite--six years later

As much as I promote space exploration here as both a measure of the strength of technological civilization and as a way to prepare us to deal with space-based dangers, not all uses of space are good and peaceful.  Leonard David of has the latest example in Russian Satellite Hit by Debris from Chinese Anti-Satellite Test.
A small Russian spacecraft in orbit appears to have been struck by Chinese space junk from a 2007 anti-satellite test, likely damaging the Russian craft, possibly severely, has learned.

The space collision appears to have occurred on Jan. 22, when a chunk of China's Fengyun 1C satellite, which was intentionally destroyed by that country in a 2007 anti-satellite demonstration, struck the Russian spacecraft, according to an analysis by the Center for Space Standards & Innovation (CSSI) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

CSSI technical program manager T.S. Kelso reported that the collision involved the Chinese space junk and Russia's small Ball Lens In The Space (BLITS) retroreflector satellite, a 17-pound (7.5 kilograms). The Fengyun 1C satellite debris was created during China's anti-satellite test on Jan. 11, 2007, and has posed a threat to satellites and crewed spacecraft ever since.
On their YouTube channel, posted the following two videos about the incident.  The first is a silent video showing what happened and the evidence for it.

In 2007, China blew up their FENGYUN 1C polar-orbiting weather satellite. A catalog of the debris path was analyzed by engineers in Moscow and they determined that a piece of the doomed satellite collided with Russia's BLITS satellite in Jan. 2013.
The second reconstructs the original 2007 test.

China's FENGYUN 1C polar-orbiting weather satellite was destroyed during the test of the weapon in 2007. Analytical Graphics created this animation using data tracks of the debris in June 2007.
Militarized space is a sustainability issue, not a sustainable activity.

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