Part II — New Observations on Cosmos 1408 Breakup

Gabbard diagram of LeoLabs debris fragments from Cosmos 1408

Our hypothesis up until now is that this was a hypervelocity collision, but there is a possibility that it was not.

Hypervelocity Space Impacts 101

Properties of hypervelocity vs. non-hypervelocity collisions in space
  • A head-on collision would result in a ~15 km/s impact.
  • Getting “T-boned” (e.g., impact angle of 90 degrees) the relative impact velocity would be on the order of 10 km/s.
  • Even a collision where the two objects travel in generally similar directions at orbital velocities can still result in hypervelocity impact.

New Assessment for Cosmos 1408 Fragmentation Counts

  • *35–45 J/gm determined empirically in 1992. Source: McKnight, D. and Hoyle, S., “Investigation of ANOVA Techniques Applied to Breakup Modeling,” Presented at the 18th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science, Kagoshima, Japan, 17–23 May 1992

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Tracking space debris in Low Earth Orbit. https://leolabs.space

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LeoLabs

LeoLabs

Tracking space debris in Low Earth Orbit. https://leolabs.space

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