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
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.
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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.
Source: Aviation Week and Space Technology Magazine.
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