From Aviation Week and Space Technology 2009 February

Satellite operators are at risk of a loss to orbital debris like the one experienced by Iridium Satellite LLC last week about twice a decade, and the danger grows every time there is another collision involving orbiting objects.

The collision between an operational Iridium communications satellite and an old Russian military store-and-dump satcom bird was the first between intact spacecraft. But it was the fourth known accidental collision between man-made space objects since 1991, and "it was by far the most severe," says Nicholas Johnson, who monitors orbital debris at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

The Iridium 33 satellite - one of 66 in the "Big LEO" low Earth orbit satcom constellation - and the 16-year-old Russian Cosmos 2251 - a Stela-2M communications spacecraft - collided broadside over northern Siberia with a closing velocity of about 7 mi. per second shortly before 5 p.m. GMT (noon EST) Feb. 10 at an altitude of about 790 km. (491 mi.).

Both spacecraft - the 800-kg. (1,764-lb.) Cosmos and the 689-kg. Iridium - shattered into debris clouds that continued on the paths of their respective circular orbits, spreading out along the original directions of flight and extending upward and down into a region of space heavily used by civilian and military weather satellites and other Earth-observation spacecraft.

Among them is the U.S. ? ?NOAA-N Prime spacecraft just launched into an 860-km. orbit (see p.

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Products & Services
Satellites
Satellites are manmade objects placed in orbit above the Earth for a variety of civil, scientific, and military applications, such as communications, environmental monitoring, navigation, and reconnaissance.
GPS Chips and Modules

GPS chips and modules compare signals from several geo-positioning satellites to determine position on the Earth's surface. GPS is an initialism for global positioning system.

GPS Instruments and Devices
Global positioning system (GPS) instruments and GPS devices are radio-navigational devices that provide accurate position information about objects on Earth, based on information from orbiting satellites.
Drilling and Tapping End Effectors
Drilling and tapping end effectors attach to the end of a robotic arm, and perform machining of holes and threads in a target material. The effectors are adapted to the end of an articulating robotic arm, often via an interfacing device called an automated tool changer (ATC). A common application for drilling and tapping end effectors is on automobile manufacturing assembly lines.
Collision Avoidance Sensors
Collision avoidance sensors use various types of proximity sensors to detect the presence of an object or obstruction.

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Chapter List Chapter 14: Orbital Debris Chapter 15: Collision Avoidance and Radio Frequency Interference Chapter 16: Ground Systems and Launch Operations Chapter 17: Spacecraft Mission Operations...