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Mock Satellite Destroyed to Study Space Junk Collisions

Mock Satellite Destroyed to Study Space Junk Collisions

Doomed for destruction is DebriSat, a nonfunctional, full-scale representation of a modern satellite, shown here prior to test at the Range G target tank at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex in Tennessee.
Doomed for destruction is DebriSat, a nonfunctional, full-scale representation of a modern satellite, shown here prior to test at the Range G target tank at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex in Tennessee.

Talk about a "bang up" job.

A full-scale lookalike of a modern satellite was destroyed in a ground test chamber recently to help scientists better grasp the effects of space collisions.

For instance, the 2009 collision between the U.S. Iridium 33 and the derelict Russian Cosmos 2251 spacecraft spotlighted the difference between breakup fragments from the newer Iridium compared with the older Russian Cosmos satellite. [7 Wild Ways to Clean Up Space Junk]

On one hand, the Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA's satellite breakup models described the fragments from the older Cosmos satellite well. But there were noticeable discrepancies in the breakup forecast of the Iridium 33.

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October 28, 2014


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