Iridium 33

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Iridium 33
Iridium satellite.jpg
A mockup of an Iridium satellite
Mission typeCommunication
OperatorIridium Satellite LLC
COSPAR ID1997-051C
SATCAT no.24946
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
Launch mass700 kilograms (1,500 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date14 September 1997 (1997-09-14)
Launch siteBaikonur 81/23
End of mission
Destroyed10 February 2009, 16:56 (2009-02-10UTC16:57Z) UTC
Collision with Kosmos 2251
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude779.6 kilometres (484.4 mi)[1]
Apogee altitude793.9 kilometres (493.3 mi)
Period100.4 minutes

Iridium 33 was a communications satellite launched by the United States for Iridium Communications. It was launched into low Earth orbit from Site 81/23 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 01:36 GMT on 14 September 1997, by a Proton-K carrier rocket with a Block DM2 upper stage.[2][3] It was operated in Plane 3 of the Iridium satellite constellation, with an ascending node of 230.9°.[2]


On 10 February 2009, at 16:56 GMT, Kosmos 2251 (a retired Strela satellite) and Iridium 33 collided, resulting in the destruction of both spacecraft.[4] NASA reported that a large amount of space debris was produced by the collision.[5][6][7] [8]


  1. ^ "Iridium 33 tracking details". Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  2. ^ a b Wade, Mark. "Iridium". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  3. ^ Wade, Mark. "Proton". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  4. ^ Iannotta, Becky (2009-02-11). "U.S. Satellite Destroyed in Space Collision". Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  5. ^ "2 orbiting satellites collide 500 miles up". Associated Press. 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  6. ^ "Google Earth KMZ file of the debris". John Burns. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
  7. ^ "U.S. Space debris environment and operational updates" (PDF). NASA. 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  8. ^ "Javascript visualisation of Iridium 33 debris".