In what sounds like the opening of a new Michael Bay movie, a defunct Russian satellite has annihilated another from the Iridium satellite communications fleet over Siberia.
US Air Force colonel Les Kodlick said that despite the presence of some 18,000 objects in orbit, this is the first time that two satellites have actually collided. More than 500 pieces of satellite shrapnel are now floating around as a result of the crash.
The Russian satellite was a Cosmos telecoms bird launched in 1993 while the Iridium network went bankrupt after it was beaten to becoming the world's first global mobile phone system. However, it was later bought up by the US, and they're more than a little keen to get the fragments back.
The Iridium satellite requires only a small antenna rather than a dish or other directional apparatus. It is critical to many specialist applications today - many of them involving the military and intelligence communities.
NASA officials said that the International Space Station was not thought to be in significant danger as it orbits at an altitude of 220 miles, well below that of the satellite wreckage clouds. Even if it did come close, the ISS has already dodged eight pieces of shrapnel that have come its way.
While conspiracy theorists are running wild over this story already, there is no real reason why a Russian satellite would deliberately hit an American communication satellite. Unless the Lizard people ordered it, of course. But I've already said too much.
Source: The Register