Very busy today because: a dead Soviet satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket upper-stage may collide in just under 3 hours, been monitoring it for a few days now and predictions have them passing just 25m away from each other, yikes!

Some perspective: the closing speed for this collision is 14.2km/sec, so if they miss by 25 meters, that means they occupied the same area in space only 0.00176sec apart.

About 2,800kg of mass, and the altitude of collision would be around 1,000km, that's high enough for debris to stay in orbit for decades, if not centuries. This has been a very big deal for us in the industry the past few days.

3 hours from now about 15min after the potential collision the dead Soviet sat will overfly a radar station in New Zealand that's been used to gather better position data, so we'll know around then if they detect a dead sat, or a cloud of debris that was once a dead sat.

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There's a real chance that this could cause what's called "Kessler Syndrome", where two objects hit and create debris, which that debris hits other objects and makes more debris, which hits more objects making more debris...and then you've got an orbit full of hypervelocity debris, and that orbit becomes unsafe and useless, like the movie "Gravity".

This is the first possible collision I can remember where having a Kessler event is a real possibility, so the whole industry has been on edge.

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@ROCKETLAZ Fuck me sideways fingers crossed for the non-kessler outcome

@ROCKETLAZ also there were a few people presenting debris cleanup ideas at the IAC this week, so I guess they'll have a good testbed!

@ROCKETLAZ I made this the other day when this was announced and I hope to the gods this is a near miss scenario or if it’s not it doesn’t escalate further but it’s be fitting for 2020

@Aarkethrix I saw this, heh, nice...fuck...nice though...fuck...

@ROCKETLAZ Should the worst-case scenario occur, which orbits are likely to become off-limits?

@RedFuture Unsure, but the both of them are in polar orbits, the Chinese rocket body is in a retrograde one on top of that, so, a lot.

@ROCKETLAZ what's the best way to see the situation unfold live?

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