Has Iridium 91 blown up or been struck by debris in orbit? Not according to the owner

by | Dec 5, 2014 | Satellites | 0 comments

The news stimulating the space analyst community was that another Iridium satellite, Iridium 91, (2002-005A), has apparently experienced an impact or explosion event causing “debris” to be shed from it.  According to reports, the event took place at about 1615 GMT on 30 November 2014, which resulted in at least four pieces of tracked debris being produced, these have subsequently been tracked by US Space Command.  The owner, Iridium Communications, has so far denied that there is anything wrong with the spacecraft.

While known to have experienced several previous technical failures in orbit, the original Iridium-bus design, built by Motorola, is not known to be prone to “explosive” failure.  An Iridium satellite has been destroyed by an impact with debris however.  In February 2009, Iridium 33 struck a defunct Russia store-forward communications satellite, Cosmos 2251.

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