Mysterious Russian satellite Kosmos 2499 breaks up apart in Earth’s orbit, leaving behind space debris

Photo Credit: AP

A mysterious event in the Earth’s orbit is giving a headache to the best of experts, back on Earth. A Russian satellite called Kosmos 2499 broke up in Earth’s orbit at an altitude of 1,169 kilometres on January 4 and left, leaving behind scores of space junk whipping around the planet.

According to the US Space Force’s 18th Space Defence Squadron, which tracks all the man-made objects in Earth’s orbit, the cloud of space debris could last in the atmosphere for well over a century.

As per NASA, orbital debris more than 1,000 km above the Earth will continue circulating the planet for hundred years or more before they fall black to Earth. The Kosmos 2499 was launched by Russia in 2013 and 2014, alongside other Russian military communication satellites.

Mysterious history with Kosmos 2499

According to Harvard & Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics (CfA) astronomer Jonathan McDowell, the fresh break-up of the satellite is the second such incident with the same satellite after the first one was reported on October 23, 2021.

Taking to Twitter, McDowell said that he suspects the new event is the further break-up of already broken parts.

Suspicion around Kosmos 2499

According to reports, Kosomos 2499 made some orbital manoeuvres that led to suspicions that it would allow spacecraft to attack and disable satellites.

The allegations from the foreign stakeholders forced erstwhile Roscosmos (Russian Space Agency) head Oleg Ostapenko to publicly clarify that Kosmos 2499 and a similar Kosmos 2491 satellite are not ‘killer satellites.

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