But not quite big enough:
In an unprecedented space collision, a commercial Iridium communications satellite and a presumably defunct Russian Cosmos satellite ran into each other Tuesday above northern Siberia, creating a cloud of wreckage, officials said today.
What a mess. At that altitude, the pieces are going to be there a long time, and present a hazard to other LEO satellites. I hope that this isn’t the event that sets off a cascade. I don’t understand why NORAD didn’t predict this. I know they don’t have the elements to a precision necessary to know that they’ll collide, but I would think that they could propagate enough to see that they would come close. And if we had true operationally responsive space capability, we could have sent something up to change the orbit of one of them, if they couldn’t do it themselves. This is the price we pay for not being a truly spacefaring civilization, despite the billions wasted over the past decades.
[Update in the evening]
Clark Lindsey has more links, and thoughts.
[Thursday morning update]
The Orlando Sentinel was somewhat prescient about this story, having run a piece on space debris last weekend.
Clark Lindsey has several more links.