Spacecraft (SC) Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM) Aeolus made a maneuver in Earth orbit, avoiding a collision with the Starlink 44 (AV) satellite, the European Space Agency (ESA) reported on Twitter.
During the maneuvers, the ADM Aeolus orbit altitude was adjusted, according to the calculations of European experts, in the direction of increase. Thus, for the first time, ESA conducted a “collision avoidance maneuver”.
According to Spa News, two spacecraft could be located at a distance of about four kilometers from each other, moving at a relative speed of 14.4 kilometers per second, and the probability of a satellite collision was less than one millionth. The publication notes that Starlink 44 is located in an orbit ranging in altitude from 311 to 345 kilometers, which makes it the most low-orbit spacecraft of the Starlink system, most of which are located at an altitude of about 550 kilometers. Spa News suggests that Starlink 44 could be one of two spacecraft on which SpaceX is testing propulsion systems.
According to Teslarati, the company refused to correct the Starlink 44 orbit, which may indicate the uncontrollability of this spacecraft. According to Matt Dash, CEO of Iridium, an American operator, orbital correction is a routine operation, and ESA’s announcement of such a procedure seems strange.
Starlink satellites of the American company SpaceX of global access to high-performance Internet were launched in May with the Falcon 9 rocket from the cosmodrome at Cape Canaveral (USA); subsequently, several of the 60 spacecraft were lost.
Aeolus, the European Earth Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS), was launched in August 2018 on a Vega rocket from the Kourou Cosmodrome (French Guiana).
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