Kosmos 2251

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Kosmos 2251
A Strela-2M communication satellite, similar to Kosmos 2251
Mission type Communication
Operator VKS
COSPAR ID 1993-036A
SATCAT № 22675
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type Strela-2M
Manufacturer Reshetnev
Launch mass 900 kilograms (2,000 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 16 June 1993, 04:17 (1993-06-16UTC04:17Z) UTC
Rocket Kosmos-3M
Launch site Plesetsk 132/1
End of mission
Destroyed 10 February 2009, 16:56 UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Perigee 778 kilometres (483 mi)
Apogee 803 kilometres (499 mi)
Inclination 74.00 degrees
Period 100.70 minutes

Kosmos-2251, (Russian: Космос-2251 meaning Cosmos 2251), was a Russian Strela-2M communications satellite. It was launched into Low Earth orbit from Site 132/1 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 04:17 UTC on 16 June 1993, by a Kosmos-3M carrier rocket.[1][2]


At 16:56 UTC on 10 February 2009,[3] it collided with Iridium 33, an Iridium satellite,[4] in the first major collision of two satellites in Earth orbit. The Iridium satellite, which was operational at the time of the collision, was destroyed, as was Kosmos-2251.[5] NASA reported that a large amount of debris was produced by the collision.[6][7]


  1. ^ Wade, Mark. "Strela-2M". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  2. ^ Wade, Mark. "Kosmos-3". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  3. ^ Iannotta, Becky (2009-02-11). "U.S. Satellite Destroyed in Space Collision". Space.com. Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  4. ^ "Office for Outer Space Affairs". United Nations. Retrieved 2009-02-12. Reported as colliding with Iridum 33 (1997-051C) on 10/02/2009 
  5. ^ "Russian and US satellites collide". BBC News. 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2009-02-12. Russia has not commented on claims that the satellite was out of control. 
  6. ^ "2 orbiting satellites collide 500 miles up". Associated Press. 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Space debris environment and operational updates". NASA. 2011-02-07. Retrieved 201-08-25.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)