Destroyed Chinese satellite close to ISS: official

Jul 23, 2010
A view of the European Columbus module at the International Space Station in 2008. Debris from a satellite destroyed in 2007 by a Chinese missile is in the vicinity of the International Space Station and astronauts are ready to take cover if required, a Russian official said Friday.

Debris from a satellite destroyed in 2007 by a Chinese missile is in the vicinity of the International Space Station and astronauts are ready to take cover if required, a Russian official said Friday.

The shooting down of the Chinese Feng Yun 1C by a ground missile launched from China at the time sparked international alarm and concern about the creation of dangerous .

"If the calculations show that the debris is approaching the station at an unacceptably close range, the six will receive the order to take shelter in the two Russian Soyuz spacecraft which are docked with the ISS," an official at mission control outside Moscow told the Interfax news agency.

The official described the flight path of the debris as "dangerous" and said it was already too late to carry out a manoeuvre to "divert the station from the rubbish".

The official was not named and there was no further comment from the Russian side.

However spokesperson Kelly Humphries played down the situation, saying that while the debris had been monitored, its distance from the station was substantial.

"A possible conjunction with a piece of the Chinese Feng Yun satellite debris was monitored by ballistics specialists late last night and overnight," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

"It was determined, however, that the miss distance is substantial and no debris avoidance manoeuvre will be required."

The shooting down of the satellite was the first known such intercept test by any country in two decades and China's confirmation of the action at the time sparked a sharp rebuke from the United States.

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User comments : 5

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ontheinternets
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 23, 2010
The headline is debunked in the last four paragraphs. The factual content that led to this article says that *if* calculations showed that the debris reached an unacceptably close range, they would take emergency action as a precaution. Of course that would be part of any sane protocol.

It is likely that the reason this story has hit the news feeds at this time is that a Chinese missile shot down another satellite a few days ago. This creates a) a political desire to rebuke China somehow for the latest missile and b) a press desire to feed the public's thirst for news about China + shooting down satellites.. However, fact-wise there is nothing particularly noteworthy aside from what the last four paragraphs say.. Namely, that in direct contradiction to the thrust of the headline, the debris is far and no manoeuvre will be required.

All that said.. I am very opposed to junk in space which causes difficulties to space access. I just wish for honest stories.
Pkunk_
2.8 / 5 (4) Jul 24, 2010
It's amazing that a China has got away with thier deed for so long. The whole ASAT test smacked of arrogance and has militarized space which is totally unnecessary.

Looks like the PLA is manned by Armchair generals who don't care what the rest of the world thinks. I guess the world will sit up and take notice only when someone is killed by this Chinese junk.
barakn
not rated yet Jul 24, 2010
How did ontheinternets's post get rated so highly when it made the false claim "Chinese missile shot down another satellite a few days ago?" I love the irony of the appeal for honesty at the end.
frajo
2.5 / 5 (2) Jul 24, 2010
If it isn't true (I don't know) then it still could be an error. To err is not dishonest.

It's no secret that most Western news about China are politically biased.
ontheinternets
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2010
I did not make it up. Here is a link:
http://tech.slash...atellite

So of course, it immediately came to mind when I saw this Physorg story.. and it was actually slightly confusing for a moment because my initial assumption was that it would pertain to the new satellite shot.

To nitpick my comment (and I suppose it is a somewhat large oversight, though it is of little practical importance), the report of the new shot did not surface until the weekend of July 17th, 2010 -- just six days before this story... although the new shot actually occurred back in January, 2010.

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