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Iridium Satellite Collision

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A U.S. Iridium telecommunications satellite and a Russian satellite that was no longer in operation collided over Siberia on Feb 10, announced Wednesday a spokesman for the NASA.

The collision, which is a first in history, involved a satellite belonging to the company Iridium Satellite LLC and a "not operational" Russian telecommunications device .

"The incident occurred Tuesday on a low Earth orbit, about 500 miles over Siberia, "said Lieutenant Colonel Kodlick The U.S. Strategic Command.

"We believe that this is the first time two devices come into collision in orbit," he said.

The Iridium 33 (NORAD ID 24946) was launched in 1997 and was reported to be operational.

The Russian device was the Cosmos 2251 (NORAD ID 22675), a communication relay satellite, launched in 1993, that was no more operational.

The collision occured in the most frequented orbit, which is mainly used for telecommunications and weather satellites.

The Joint Space Operations has identified 500 to 600 debris, some measuring about 10 centimeters. They are added to the 18,000 objects made by humans and recorded as floating in space, said Kodlick.

The International Space Station is stationed at a lower altitude, so it should not be threaten by these new debris, but the threat is much greater for many other commercial satellites that use the same orbit.

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