Kosmos 2421

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Kosmos 2421 (Cosmos 2421) was a Russian spy satellite launched in 2006, but began fragmenting in early 2008.[1] It also had the Konus-A gamma-ray burst experiment by the Yoffe FizTekh Institute.[2] Three separate fragmentation events produced about 500 pieces of trackable debris,[1] but about half of those had already re-entered by the fall of 2008.[3]

The International Space Station adjusted its orbit to avoid debris fragment 33246 from the Kosmos 2421 breakup.[4] That piece was predicted to have a 1 in 72 chance of hitting the station without a change.[4] Kosmos 2421 was in a higher orbit than ISS, so when ISS's apogee (high point of orbit) surpassed the debris field's perigee (low point of orbit), many fragments would cross ISS's orbit.[4]

Kosmos 2421 was launched on June 25, 2006 on a Tsyklon-2 from LC90 at Baykonur.[5] Other designations are 2006-026A and NORAD 29247.[5] It is a US-PU/Legenda type satellite, and was in a 65 degree, 93 minute circular orbit 410–430 km up.[5]

A fragment re-entered in August 2010.[6]

There have been 190 known satellite breakups between 1961 and 2006.[7] Kosmos 2421 was one of the top ten space junk producing events up to 2012.[8] There was estimated to be 500,000 pieces of debris in orbit at that time.[8]


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