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apworker37 t1_j13b171 wrote

It would be something. But then I should think there would be a debris field and not just a small pebble going really fast.


smoke-frog t1_j13dmd1 wrote

The debris from disintegration is not gravitationally bound, and will spread over huge distances with time.


BrevityIsTheSoul t1_j13lgki wrote

Space is however really, really big. As the debris field spreads out the debris density drops rapidly.


3PercentMoreInfinite t1_j13nei5 wrote

Also the debris at the altitude of ISS will fall back to earth relatively quickly. Russia isn’t the first to blow up a satellite in orbit.


hackingdreams t1_j15h837 wrote

Large debris will take a couple of years to deorbit.

Debris that small will be in orbit for hundreds of years because they have almost no surface area for which to feel a drag force against - it's almost purely a function of the microgravity at that point.

Other ASAT tests were done at lower orbits on satellites already decaying for the most part.


Sargent_Sarkasmo t1_j13s74q wrote

But the debris are concentrated in low Earth orbit...


BrevityIsTheSoul t1_j13z1uy wrote

The volume of the LEO zone is larger than the volume of the Earth.


miniperez87 t1_j149brd wrote

Wow this is fascinating. What are the numbers?? Genuinely curious


3PercentMoreInfinite t1_j14d96e wrote

The surface area of the zone that the ISS orbits would be 223,023,973 miles².

But you have to remember that all orbits will cross paths twice if they are the same altitude. That doesn’t mean that they will both be in that same spot at the same time though. To be in the same orbit they would have to be going the same speed, so in that case they would never collide if they didn’t collide on the first trip around. It would have to be debris that were pulled closer from a higher orbit by gravity. Still, a very slim chance given how large that area actually is.


BrevityIsTheSoul t1_j14f9lc wrote

The sphere including all of LEO and the Earth is over 2.4 trillion cubic km. Earth is a smidge over 1 trillion cubic km. Subtract the volume of the Earth and you have 1.4 trillion cubic km left for the 100km below the Karman Line and 1900km above it.


Sargent_Sarkasmo t1_j148u60 wrote

And still we have managed to make it a way more dangerous place the the asteroid belt.


hackingdreams t1_j15guup wrote

And all it takes is a fleck of paint less than 0.5mm to make that hole.

This is why you don't shoot satellites in the orbit of other satellites. Space might be big, but with nearly no drag things do not spread out very much, and even the teensiest tiniest pieces can do tremendous damage if they hit just right.