A broadside collision between two satellites — one of them an operational Iridium communications relay — was the worst orbital accident on record and may wind up rivaling the 2007 Chinese anti-satellite weapon test in the debris cloud it created. The Iridium satellite — one of 66 in the “Big LEO” low-Earth orbit constellation — and the 16-year-old Cosmos 2251 Russian government communications satellite collided at an altitude of 790 kilometers with a closing velocity of about 7 miles per ...

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