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Space collision's debris a danger

February 14, 2009|Times Wire Reports

The collision of a U.S. commercial satellite and a derelict Russian military satellite generated an estimated tens of thousands of fragments that could threaten other satellites for 10,000 years, space experts said.

Russian Mission Control chief Vladimir Solovyov said Tuesday's smashup poses serious danger to tracking and communications satellites in a popular orbit about 500 miles high, and that even tiny fragments are dangerous because they and the spacecraft travel at high speeds.

Most fragments are concentrated near the collision course, but Maj. Gen. Alexander Yakushin, chief of staff of the Russian military's Space Forces, said some debris was thrown into other orbits, ranging from 300 to 800 miles above Earth.

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