US, Russian satellites collide in space

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US, Russian satellites collide in space

Nasa has confirmed that a Russian and US satellite have collided in space.

The US satellite was part of the Iridium network, a global telephony service set up by Motorola in the late 90s that and is now owned by private investors, with the US military as one of the chief clients.

The Russian satellite, Cosmos 2251, was an out-of-control communications satellite weighing almost a ton.

The resultant debris cloud is being monitored to make sure that other satellites are out of danger.

"We knew this was going to happen eventually," Mark Matney, an orbital debris scientist at Johnson Space Center in Houston, told Associated Press.

“The collisions are going to be becoming more and more important in the coming decades."

Space debris is becoming an increasing problem as more and more satellites break up in orbit. Debris is now considered the number one danger to shuttle safety by Nasa.

The Iridium network was as a network of telephony satellites that allow calls to be made anywhere in the world. Despite start-up costs estimated in the billions the network was sold at auction for around US$25 million.

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