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SpaceX, OneWeb Satellites Come Within 190 Feet of Each Other in Orbit

Apr 12, 2021, 11:21 AM by Lawrence Garrett
Radiation-Belt-Satellites-NASA-250

Radiation Belt Storm Probes in similar orbits. | Credit: NASA; Wikipedia; Public Domain

The Daily Mail (UK) reported that on April 4, two satellites, one from SpaceX and one from OneWeb, came within 190 feet of each other in space. The close encounter of the two satellites triggered “several ‘red alerts’ from the US Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron, The Verge reports.” In anticipation of the encounter, “SpaceX inactivated its AI-powered collision avoidance system, allowing OneWeb to steer its satellite out of the way, OneWeb’s government affairs chief Chris McLaughlin told The Verge.” The “close call was due to OneWeb’s recent launch on March 30th, which sent 36 satellites into orbit and had to pass through a sea of Starlinks to hit its targeted orbit.” This “is the first known collision avoidance event since tech firms started populating space with internet beaming devices.” Space Force “determined the probability of the two satellites colliding was 1.3 percent and if they would have hit, it would have added hundreds more pieces of space junk into the orbit.”
Full Story (Daily Mail)