2 large pieces of space junk nearly collided in 'high risk' situation
A dead satellite and an old rocket part, each roughly the size of a small car, would have littered orbit with space junk if they had smashed into each other.
Two pieces of space junk, each about the weight of a compact car, had a close encounter on October 15 some 620 miles above Earth. If they had collided—experts put the odds at about 5 or 10 percent before closest approach—the smashup would have created a cloud of debris that would jeopardize other satellites and spacecraft for decades.
The two objects are a defunct Russian navigation satellite launched in 1989 and a spent Chinese rocket part from a 2009 launch. Calculations by LeoLabs, a California-based company that tracks objects in low-Earth orbit, pegged the moment of closest approach at 8:56 p.m. ET on October 15 above the southern Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Antarctica. About an hour after