Analysis of the Iridium 33-Cosmos 2251 Collision

19th AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference

Kelso, T.S. “Analysis of the Iridium 33-Cosmos 2251 Collision,” presented at the 19th AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, 2009 August 11.

Abstract

On 2009 February 10, Iridium 33—an operational US communications satellite in low-Earth orbit—was struck and destroyed by Cosmos 2251—a long-defunct Russian communications satellite. This is the first time since the dawn of the Space Age that two satellites have collided in orbit. To better understand the circumstances of this event and the ramifications for avoiding similar events in the future, this paper provides a detailed analysis of the predictions leading up to the collision, using various data sources, and looks in detail at the collision, the evolution of the debris clouds, and the long-term implications for satellite operations.

Conference Materials

10th Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference

Kelso, T.S., "Analysis of the Iridium 33-Cosmos 2251 Collision," presented at the 10th Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference, Maui, HI, 2009 September 2.

Abstract

On 2009 February 10, Iridium 33—an operational US communications satellite in low-Earth orbit—was struck and destroyed by Cosmos 2251—a long-defunct Russian communications satellite. This is the first time since the dawn of the Space Age that two satellites have collided in orbit. To better understand the circumstances of this event and the ramifications for avoiding similar events in the future, this paper provides a detailed analysis of the predictions leading up to the collision, using various data sources, and looks in detail at the collision, the evolution of the debris clouds, and the long-term implications for satellite operations.

Conference Materials


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