On February 10th, Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 became the first ever satellites to collide in orbit. The event was unprecedented. Quickly, visualization companies (such as AGI) created stunning 3D animations of the event unfolding, modelling the resultant debris. Now, there’s another animation available, this time from the University of Southampton Astronautics Research Group.
I really like this version, as a) it is modelled by software called “DAMAGE”, b) you get a real sense of orbital speed vs. the vanishingly tiny chance that two satellites, of that size, could possibly collide, and c) you can almost hear the *BOOM* when contact is made (it is a fanciful *BOOM*, because in space no one can hear a satellite scream).
Let’s just hope those hundreds of pieces of debris don’t amplify the space junk problem up there…