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Satellite company recovers from orbiter loss

The destroyed satellite was part of a 66-orbiter constellation.
Space debris satellites around Earth
This illustration from the European Space Agency gives an impression of the number of objects orbiting Earth. The number of objects increases by an average of 200 each year, according to NASA.
European Space Agency
February 12, 2009
The Russian satellite that collided with one from the United States February 10 was apparently non-operational, according the company that owns the U.S. satellite. In a news release, Iridium Satellite LLC, headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, said its satellite was functioning.

"Although this event has minimal impact on Iridium's service, the company is taking immediate action to address the loss," Iridium's release said. "The Iridium constellation is healthy, and this event is not the result of a failure on the part of Iridium or its technology."

According to the release, Iridium operates the largest commercial satellite constellation in the world with 66 satellites plus in-orbit spares. "In terms of the impact to Iridium's customers, this satellite loss may result in very limited service disruption in the form of brief, occasional outages." Iridium announced. The company expects to complete a network solution by February 13. Within 30 days, it expects to move one of its in-orbit spare satellites into the network constellation to replace the lost satellite.
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