High risk of space crash between dead Soviet satellite and Chinese rocket

A dead Soviet satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket have a "very high risk" of colliding in a catastrophic space event, a collision tracking service has said.

Leo Labs, a company that uses radar to track space debris, is tracking a dead Soviet satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket hurtling towards each other.

The space junk is considered to be “very high risk” of crashing into one another, which would send bits of metal in all different directions.

If the two collide, it could be a "catastrophic" space event that could cause havoc for any Earth satellite in low-Earth orbit, Leo Labs have said.

Dan Ceperley, the CEO of LeoLabs, told Business Insider: "If this turns into a collision, it’s probably thousands to tens of thousands of new pieces of debris that is going to cause a headache for any satellite that’s going out into upper low-Earth orbit, or even beyond.

"It’s maybe a much bigger problem than a lot of people realise."

Leo Labs have calculated the space debris has a 10& chance that the objects will collide at 8:56pm Eastern Time on Thursday October 15, which is 1.56am on Friday October 16 British Summer Time.

In a tweet, the company said: "This event continues to be very high risk and will likely stay this way through the time of closest approach.

"Our system generates new conjunction reports 6-8x per day on this event with new observation data each time."

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The Soviet satellite and Chinese rocket body are now both defunct, which means nobody can move them out of harms way.

Currently, 130 million bits of space junk currently surround Earth, from abandoned satellites or spacecraft that broke apart during missions.

Debris travels at 10 times the speed of a bullet, which could kill astronauts on a spacecraft if it is hit.

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