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Business News/ Science / News/  US, Russian satellites may collide 600 km above Earth today, NASA on guard. Details here
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US, Russian satellites may collide 600 km above Earth today, NASA on guard. Details here

NASA said a ‘potential collision’ is expected between the Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics mission spacecraft and the Russian Cosmos 2221 satellite about 600 km above the earth on February 28 which could result in significant debris generation.

A representational image. A collision of two spacecraft at an altitude of 600 km could lead to the generation of significant debris, says Nasa.Premium
A representational image. A collision of two spacecraft at an altitude of 600 km could lead to the generation of significant debris, says Nasa.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Wednesday said a ‘potential collision’ is expected between two satellites one, from the US and the other from Russia, about 600 km above the earth on February 28 which could result in significant debris generation.

The two satellites on collision course are Nasa’s Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission spacecraft and the Russian Cosmos 2221 satellite.

“The two non-maneuverable orbiting spacecraft are expected to make their closest pass at about 1:30 am EST on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at an altitude of about 373 miles (600 km)," NASA said in a statement.

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The US Department of Defense is monitoring the situation, the space agency added.

“Although the spacecraft are expected to miss each other, a collision could result in significant debris generation. NASA and the Department of Defense will continue to monitor the situation," NASA said.

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A collision of two spacecraft at an altitude of 600 km could lead to the generation of significant debris, posing additional risks to other satellites and spacecraft in similar orbits, experts said.

TIMED mission spacecraft

NASA’s Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission spacecraft (launched on December 7, 2001) plays a crucial role in the understanding of Earth's upper atmosphere. The TIMED mission studies the influence of the Sun and human activity on Earth’s mesosphere and lower thermosphere/ionosphere. 

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The region is a gateway between Earth and space, where the Sun’s energy is first deposited into Earth’s environment making the TIMED mission vital for understanding atmospheric dynamics.

Developed in part by Johns Hopkins APL, the mission’s unrivalled 20-year dataset has provided crucial insights about space weather, Earth’s climate and the evolution of planetary atmospheres.

Cosmos 2221

Russian satellite Cosmos 2221 was launched in 1992 for surveillance and other military purposes. Cosmos 2221 was a Russian ELINT (Electronic and Signals Intelligence) satellite launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome.

 

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Published: 28 Feb 2024, 05:56 PM IST
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