Iridium 33

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Iridium 33
Iridium satellite.jpg
A mockup of an Iridium satellite
Mission type Communication
Operator Iridium Satellite LLC
COSPAR ID 1997-051C
Spacecraft properties
Bus LM-700A
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin
Start of mission
Launch date 14 September 1997 (1997-09-14)
Rocket Proton-K/DM2
Launch site Baikonur 81/23
Contractor ILS
End of mission
Destroyed 10 February 2009, 16:56 (2009-02-10UTC16:57Z) UTC
Collision with Kosmos 2251
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth

Iridium 33 was a communications satellite launched by the United States for Iridium Communications. It was launched into low Earth orbit from Site 81/23 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 01:36 GMT on 14 September 1997, by a Proton-K carrier rocket with a Block DM2 upper stage.[1][2] It was operated in Plane 3 of the Iridium satellite constellation, with an ascending node of 230.9°.[1]


On 10 February 2009, at 16:56 GMT, Kosmos 2251 (a retired Strela satellite) and Iridium 33 collided, resulting in the destruction of both spacecraft.[3] NASA reported that a large amount of space debris was produced by the collision.[4][5][6] [7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wade, Mark. "Iridium". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-02-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Wade, Mark. "Proton". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-02-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Iannotta, Becky (2009-02-11). "U.S. Satellite Destroyed in Space Collision". Retrieved 2009-02-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "2 orbiting satellites collide 500 miles up". Associated Press. 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2009-02-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Google Earth KMZ file of the debris". John Burns. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2010-11-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "U.S. Space debris environment and operational updates" (PDF). NASA. 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2011-08-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Javascript visualisation of Iridium 33 debris".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>