Recent road accident in an orbit. Whether there will be consequences and for whom?
Many have heard a lot about collision on Earth orbit of two satellites - Russian and American, but not everyone represents possible consequences of this event. Orbital road accident, the first in the history of astronautics, happened on February 10, 2009 over northern part of Siberia. The communication satellite of the Iridium company faced the device “ Space - 2251 “ long ago developed the resource and taken out of service. At the same time “ American “ had an opportunity for maneuver unlike ours “ near-earth object “ not equipped with shunting engines.
Why specialists of NASA and U.S. Air Force space center did not make an attempt to avoid collision? Perhaps, as a result of systematic contacts with the Russian colleagues they began to hope for Russian " too; perhaps “? On these questions there is no definite answer yet. Programs for calculation of data on dangerous rapprochements were developed still in 80 - e years of the last century. Certainly, subsequently they were improved, but at the moment their limits of accuracy do not conform to requirements of today. The happened incident confirmed it only once again.
According to the forecast orbital devices had to disperse at distance about eight hundred meters. In reality they faced at an angle practically in 90 degrees at a speed nearly 40 thousand kilometers per hour. At the same time the mass of each of them made near half tones. After collision it was formed extending “ cloud “ splinters which number is estimated previously at several thousands. For definition of trajectories and orbits even only the largest of them weeks can be required.
With what consequences this incident is fraught? Here opinions of experts disperse a little. Press - the secretary of Roskosmos unambiguously declared that for the International space station remains of satellites do not constitute real danger. The representative of the USA Nicholas Johnson spoke more carefully and assumed that small fragments which cannot be marked from Earth can bear a certain threat for ISS. However besides ISS in near-earth space there are enough artificial satellites with which normal functioning the space debris can quite interfere.
In the history there were already cases when some American devices had to evade on command from Earth from a meeting with undesirable orbital neighbors. The international space station also for a decade of the existence several times carried out the maneuvers connected with danger of collisions with space debris. And there is really enough garbage in an orbit. In the American and Russian catalogs over ten thousand objects posing serious potential threat which extent exceeds several centimeters are registered. The number of smaller fragments can be higher much. Every year quantity of the fulfilled rocket steps which developed a resource of satellites and other “ creations of hands human “ rushing on cosmic speeds in near-earth space, significantly increases. In the light of the aforesaid the questions which are taken out in article heading are not represented rhetorical at all.
Of course, at the author was not and there will never be a desire to predict fast and inevitable death to all achievements of world astronautics. The arisen problem surely will find the solution. Perhaps, the thought again Mankind will design the fantastic Space Cleaners destroying garbage by means of a multi-purpose laser gun in the near future or will learn to create gravitational protection of the ships of new generation. But, most likely, there will be something else, as it is still impossible to present today. We live during an era of promptly developing technologies.
The main thing - not to forget the main condition of preservation of a civilization according to which spirituality has to grow at not less prompt rates, than science. Only at its strict observance our children will be able to look eyes, widely open from admiration, in the night star sky.