Satellite collision leaves space debris

The collision of two telecom satellites has left a large cloud of space debris that threatens other orbiting craft.

An Iridium satellite collided with what is believed to have been a non-operational Russian satellite on Wednesday, the company said. The crash occurred 784 kilometers above Siberia. It is the first collision of large, man-made objects in space.

Iridium said its 66-strong in-orbit network was configured to withstand the loss of a single satellite. The company has several spare satellites in orbit, and will replace the missing satellite within 30 days.

But it warned that the loss could result in "very limited service disruption" in the form of occasional outages.

The accident has left between 500 and 600 new pieces of debris in orbit, and while NASA doesn't expect the debris to threaten the International Space Station, it could threaten more satellites.

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