Cerise (satellite)

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A sketch of the event.

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 2009-08-26. 
  2. ^ "CO2 prolongs life of space junk". BBC News. 2005-05-05. Retrieved 2006-03-08. 
  3. ^ "History of On-Orbit Satellite Fragmentations" (PDF). NASA Orbital Debris Program Office. June 2008. pp. 368–369. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 

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