An old rocket that was used in the past launches broke down on May 8. This was confirmed by Russia’s space agency Roscosmos.
The Fregat-SB upper stage rocket was used to deliver Spektr-R, the Russian scientific satellite to orbit nine years ago.
The space agency is still investigating the situation. For now, no signs of a collision were found.
On the other hand, the American 18 Space Control Squadron, an Airforce unit from the United States that detects and tracks all artificial objects in our planet’s orbit, found around 65 pieces from the incident, Focus Washington reported.
Often, space agencies launch satellites into space with some parts like the upper stage rocket left floating. These are necessary to correctly launch the machinery but lead to debris being accumulated in orbit. The increasing amount of space junk can prove to be harmful to future launches and scientists must factor in the location of the debris before sending up any satellites, according to First Post.
The ULA, which stands for The United Launch Alliance of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, issued a paper in which they said that several launch vehicle upper stages are missing propulsive capability of de-orbiting themselves. They also found that if space agencies from all over the world use technologies that enhance disposal capabilities, the cost involved in maneuvering satellites can be hugely lowered.
The Russian space agency issued a statement in which they said that the breakdown of the rocket happened on May 8, 2020, above the Indian Ocean.
“Currently, we are working to collect data to confirm the quantity and orbit parameters of the fragments,” the statement added.
According to a report of the news agency AFP, the radio telescope inside Spektr-R had stopped responding to ground signals in January of 2019 and a few months later, the mission was closed down.