Friday, May 3, 2013

Russian Space Junk Almost Destroys NASA Telescope in Orbit

NASA's $690 million Fermi space telescope was nearly hit by the dead Russian spy satellite Cosmos 1805 on April 3, 2012. This NASA graphic depicts the orbital paths of the two spacecraft.


A high-tech NASA telescope in orbit escaped a potentially disastrous collision with a Soviet-era Russian spy satellite last year in a close call that highlights the growing threat of orbital debris around Earth.  

NASA's $690 million Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope — which studies the most powerful explosions in the universe — narrowly avoided a direct hit with the defunct 1.5-ton Russian reconnaissance satellite Cosmos 1805 on April 3, 2012, space agency officials announced Tuesday (April 30). The potential space collision was avoided when engineers commanded Fermi to fire its thrusters in a critical dodging maneuver to move out of harm's way.

NASA created a video of Fermi's near miss with space junk to illustrate how high the risk of a space collision really was. [Space Junk Photos & Cleanup Concepts]

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