Here’s something you don’t see every day: an American and Russian satellite have had a space crash.
The Iridium communications satellite and a Russian satellite collided Tuesday 491 miles (790kms) over northern Siberia, creating a cloud of wreckage, officials have reported.
The Johnson Space Center in Houston reported that “The U.S. space surveillance network detected a large number of debris from both objects” believed to be at least 600 pieces.
The Russian satellite is believed to be Cosmos 2251, a communications relay station launched in 1993 that has been non-operational for around 10 years.
The International Space Station (ISS) does not appear to be threatened by the debris, officials said, but it’s not known yet whether there may be a risk to other satellites.
Iridium said in a statement that “Although this event has minimal impact on Iridium’s service, the company is taking immediate action to address the loss.” Iridium offers a global satellite phone and communications service.