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Satellite collision not to delay space program
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A spokesman for the Russian civilian space agency Roscosmos, Alexander Vorobyev, said on state TV's Channel I that "for the international space station, at this time and in the near future, there's no threat".

Tuesday's collision was the first high-speed impact between two intact spacecraft, NASA officials said. Space objects in orbit have collided accidentally on four other occasions, NASA said. But those were considered minor and involved parts of spent rockets or small satellites.

Iridium Holdings has a system of 65 active satellites, which relay calls from portable phones that are about twice the size of a regular mobile phone. It has more than 300,000 subscribers, with the US Department of Defense being one of the biggest.

The company said the satellites' loss was causing brief, occasional outages in its service and that it hoped to fix the problem by Friday. Iridium expects to replace the lost satellite with one of its eight in-orbit spares within 30 days.

(CCTV, China Daily February 13, 2009)


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