MOSCOW - Debris from this week's satellite collision could circle Earth for up to 10,000 years, threatening many other satellites in an already-crowded area, Russia's Mission Control chief said Friday.
Vladimir Solovyov said Tuesday's smashup of a derelict Russian military satellite and a working U.S. Iridium commercial satellite occurred some 500 miles (800 kilometers) above Earth - the busiest part of near-Earth space.
"800 kilometers is a very popular orbit which is used by Earth-tracking and communications satellites," Solovyov told reporters. "The clouds of debris pose a serious danger to them."
Solovyov told reporters even tiny fragments could pose a serious threat to spacecraft made of light alloys because both travel at such a high speed.