The Russian debris came as close as 14.5 meter (ongeveer 48 voete) from the satellite, according to the Space Debris Monitoring and Application Center of the China National Space Administration.
If a collision did occur, it could’ve caused a “hypersonic shockwave,” said Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who explained “it came close enough that it easily could have hit.”
“A piece big enough to be tracked like this, it hits at 12,000 myl per uur, and you get a hypersonic shockwave going through the satellite that reduces it to shrapnel, to confetti,” hy het gesê.
McDowell however, describes China’s assertion the two objects came within such a specific distance as “nonsense because there’s no way they can know it that accurately.”
Based on publicly available US space tracking data, McDowell says the two objects could have come within anywhere from a few hundred yards to a few inches of colliding.
“The fact that it’s still there means it didn’t hit, but that’s the only way you know that,” McDowell said.
Russia destroyed one of its own satellites last November in a direct-ascent anti-satellite missile test which has been condemned by US President Joe Biden’s administration as dangerous and irresponsible.
Op daardie stadium, US Space Command said the test generated “meer as 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and will likely generate hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris.”