Cerise (satellite)

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Cerise sat broke.jpg
Illustration of debris colliding with Cerise
Mission type Military reconnaissance
COSPAR ID 1995-033B
SATCAT № 23606
Spacecraft properties
Bus SSTL-70
Manufacturer Alcatel Space · Surrey Satellite Technology
Launch mass 50 kg (110 lb)
Dimensions 0.6 × 0.3 × 0.3 m (1.97 × 0.98 × 0.98 ft)
Start of mission
Launch date 7 July 1995, 16:23:34 (1995-07-07UTC16:23:34) UTC
Rocket Ariane 4 V-75
Launch site Guiana Space Centre ELA-2
Contractor Arianespace
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Sun-synchronous
Eccentricity 0.0005756
Perigee 581 km (361 mi)
Apogee 589 km (366 mi)
Inclination 98.2413°
Mean motion 14.94 rev/day
Epoch 27 December 2016 12:15:03 UTC

Cerise (French for "cherry") was a French military reconnaissance satellite. Its main purpose was to intercept HF radio signals for French intelligence services.[1] With a mass of 50 kg, it was launched by an Ariane rocket from Kourou in French Guiana at 17:23 UT, 7 July 1995.[1] Cerise's initial orbital parameters were period 98.1 min, apogee 675 km, perigee 666 km, and inclination 98.0 deg.[1]

It was hit by a catalogued space debris object from an Ariane rocket in 1996, making it the first verified case of an accidental collision between two artificial objects in space.[2]

The collision tore off a 2.8-2.9 metre (9.2-9.5 foot) portion of Cerise's gravity-gradient stabilization boom, which left the satellite severely damaged.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 501". NASA. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  2. ^ "CO2 prolongs life of space junk". BBC News. 5 May 2005. Retrieved 8 March 2006. 
  3. ^ "History of On-Orbit Satellite Fragmentations" (PDF). NASA Orbital Debris Program Office. June 2008. pp. 368–369. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 

External links[edit]