Radarsat-1 down: Canada’s eye in the sky blinks out

Radast-1 in orbit ~ CSA

Radast-1 in orbit ~ CSA

Published April 9, 2013 – A “technical anomaly” appears to have knocked out Canada’s Radarsat-1 satellite, which has been beaming images of everything from Arctic ice to oilspills down to earth for almost 18 years.

The satellite, which gathered detailed images day and night, through cloud, smoke and haze, malfunctioned on March 29. Continue reading →

Orbital junk threatens future space projects

A titanium motor casing from a Delta 2 third stage reentered the atmosphere over the Middle East in January 2001 landing about 240 km from the in Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.
Credit NASA

Vancouver Sun Mon Jan 2 2012

By Margaret Munro
Postmedia News

The alerts from U.S. Strategic Command now arrive every couple of weeks – warnings that space junk is hurtling toward one of Canada’s multi-million-dollar satellites.

The mathematical whizzes at the Canadian Space Agency assess the odds of their space-craft being hit by the debris, much of it from missile tests, rocket launches and mid-orbit collisions. More often than not, they sit tight.

But five times this year the space agency has fired up the thrusters on Canada’s $500-million Radarsat satellites to move them out of harm’s way.

“The numbers of near-misses are going up, rather alarmingly,” said David Kendall, the CSA’s director general of space science and technology. Continue reading →