Satellite hit by space junk, still operational

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A private Earth-observation satellite, WorldView-2, was either hit by space junk or had some internal failure that produced “8 debris pieces” in its vicinity.

The Joint Space Operations Center, which is the Defense Department’s nerve center for space operations and tracks space objects from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, tweeted July 19 that it had identified a debris-causing event related DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 satellite.

The amazing thing about this is that the satellite is still functional, and to prove it the company has already released an image produced after the event.

One comment

  • PeterF

    This type of event used to be called a “breakup”. Breakups normally happened about eight times a year. Incredible that the satellite is still functioning, considering that very little of the of the satellite could be considered redundant or unnecessary. I suspect that the only non-critical on-orbit mass would be the orbital booster. If the booster blew apart its amazing that the satellite maintained enough stability to maintain communications much less produce clear images.
    Rest assured though, JSpOC already knows exactly where the material came from.

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