Broadcast 1115 (Special Edition)

05 Mar 2009 Dr. Brian Weeden
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Guest: Brian Weeden. Topics: Iridium 33 & Cosmos 2251 collision, space situational awareness, satellite location, orbital debris, United Nations. Brian Weeden was the guest for this special Space Show program which focused on the recent collision of the Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 satellite. Brian went into some detail during this discussion to let us know how satellites are tracked, the catalogs kept by the Air Force, commercial operators, independent companies, and foreign nations. We talked about liability, tractable debris, and all of orbital debris. Generally, debris can be tracked at 10 CM or larger and there are about 18,000 pieces this size in the catalog. It’s estimated there are roughly 500,000 objects from 1 to 10 CM in size. Objects smaller than 1 CM can number in the millions. During our discussion, we talked about intervention methods, collision avoidance, debris mitigation, and much more. Brian went over the voluntary rules in place regarding end of life scenarios for a satellite. Brian Weeden also wrote a recent and very comprehensive Space Review article on this subject which can be found at http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1314/1 . If you have questions or comments for Brian, please reach him at bweeden@swfound.org .

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