It became known about the destruction of the Soviet satellite – it collided with debris.
The collision and destruction of the Cosmos-type satellite in Earth’s orbit, likely due to a collision with space debris, highlights a significant and growing problem with space debris in our planet’s orbital environment. Earth’s rotation has become increasingly cluttered with debris from defunct satellites, spent rocket stages, and other objects, creating a hazardous situation for active spacecraft.
Jonathan McDowell’s observations are concerning because they demonstrate that even relatively large pieces of debris threaten satellites and other spacecraft. While ground services can track objects with dimensions of 10 cm and above, most space debris consists of smaller fragments that are harder to detect and track.
Even smaller pieces of debris, such as those in the centimeter range, pose a severe risk to operational satellites. These tiny particles can travel at high speeds and, upon impact, cause significant damage to spacecraft, potentially leading to mission failures or creating additional debris in orbit.
Efforts to address the space debris problem include improving tracking capabilities, developing technologies to remove debris from orbit, and implementing international guidelines for responsible space activities. Space agencies, governments, and private space companies are increasingly aware of the need to manage and mitigate space debris to ensure the long-term sustainability of space activities.