Wednesday, March 20, 2013

China Space Junk/Russian Satellite Collision Never Happened?

The BLITS (Ball Lens In The Space) retroreflector satellite launched by the Federal Space Program of Russia in association with the International Laser Ranging Service. (Image Source: NASA)
The Satellite Collision that Never Happened?
Posted by Amy Butler 8:39 PM on Mar 17, 2013
What has been reported by mainstream press to have been a satellite collision in late January, which allegedly damaged a Russian satellite, never took place, according to a U.S. defense official.

Major news outlets reported last week that the Russian BLITS satellite collided with a piece of orbital debris left after China conducted an anti-satellite test using its own Feng Yun 1C satellite as a target in 2007. They quote experts at the Center for Space Standards & Innovation, who say the collision occurred Jan. 22.

However, a defense official says such an incident never occurred. “There is no definitive proof there was a collision,” this source says. Experts at the Air Force’s Joint Space Operations Center in California constantly track orbital debris and satellites the size of a softball or larger using a global electro-optical and radar sensor capability. Debris from the destroyed Chinese weather satellite actually never came close enough to the Russian BLITS satellite for the Air Force to notify operators of a possible collision, this source says. The defense official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
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Source: Aviation Week and Space Technology Magazine.

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