A mockup of an Iridium satellite
|Operator||Iridium Satellite LLC|
|Launch mass||700 kilograms (1,500 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||14 September 1997|
|Launch site||Baikonur 81/23|
|End of mission|
10 February 2009, 16:56 UTC|
Collision with Kosmos 2251
|Perigee||522 kilometres (324 mi)|
|Apogee||541 kilometres (336 mi)|
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. It was operated in Plane 3 of the Iridium satellite constellation, with an ascending node of 230.9°.
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. NASA reported that a large amount of space debris was produced by the collision. 
- Wade, Mark. "Iridium". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- Wade, Mark. "Proton". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- Iannotta, Becky (2009-02-11). "U.S. Satellite Destroyed in Space Collision". Space.com. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
- "2 orbiting satellites collide 500 miles up". Associated Press. 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
- "Google Earth KMZ file of the debris". John Burns. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
- "U.S. Space debris environment and operational updates" (PDF). NASA. 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
|Wikinews has news coverage of the 2009 satellite collision|
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