Missed it by that much.


Just like Maxwell Smart, Cosmos 1805 just barely missed hitting NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.  Cosmos 1805, weighing in at about 1.5 tons, missed hitting the spacecraft by a scant 700 feet.

artist concept of Fermi and Cosmos 1805 orbital paths

Predicting how close two satellites come within proximity of each other is not an exact science.


The last time this happened on Feb. 10, 2009,Cosmos 2251, another dead Russian communications satellite, was supposed to pass about 1,900 feet from the Iridium 33 communications satellite.  When the spacecraft were supposed to pass by each other all contact with Iridium 33 was lost.  Radar later revealed clouds of debris traveling along the orbits of both spacecraft, confirming the first known satellite-to-satellite collision.

So now we have tiny bits of two satellites spawning other tiny bits of satellites causing even more hazards in orbit.  I hope Richard Branson is paying attention to all of this.

Well, at least this story had a happy ending the non working satellite did not make more non working satellites (or itty bitty pieces of satellites).  All is well until the next time.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +


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