Satnews Daily
December 31st, -0001

Spatial Bits + Pieces Monitored by Russian Space Forces

Russia's military Space Forces have indicated they were tracking fragments from a derelict military satellite that has partially disintegrated in orbit to make certain the debris poses no threat the ISS.

The Cosmos-2421 satellite suffered "partial defragmentation" after being taken out of service in February 2008, possibly caused by space debris hitting one of the craft's solar arrays, the Space Forces said in a statement. The satellite is expected to burn in the atmosphere later this year, but the Space Forces are monitoring about 30 fragments that broke away to ensure they don't jeopardize the international space station and its crew. The space station had to adjust its orbit last August to evade a piece of debris from the Cosmos-2421, according the October issue of NASA's newsletter Orbital Debris Quarterly News. Earlier this month, the ISS crew took refuge inside a Russian Soyuz escape capsule when officials became concerned regarding a piece of passing space debris they thought might hit the space station. The debris missed, but engineers did not know by how much in the way of distance. A collission by even tiny pieces could cause a fatal loss of air pressure in the station. Last month, another decommissioned Russian military satellite collided with a working U.S. communications satellite and created a cloud of debris that threatened other spacecraft.