Cosmos 2421, disintegrated satellite

             (update: this object recently decayed; 2010-08-19)


Observations on April 5, 2010, during an 81 degrees favorable pass of the Russian Cosmos 2421 satellite, reveal a considerable large object with a defined clear elongated shape, while according to media, the satellite should have broken up in hundreds of pieces early 2008. Interesting fact is that the Russian officials have repeatedly denied that any explosion occured, but that the satellite only stopped functioning. See for more info:

This satellite was responsible for some important ISS avoidance maneuvers performed in the past years. A fact is that this object orbits at a height comparable with that of the International Space Station. The elongated shape of the satellite with its solar panels is easy recognizable on the images. Shown in the image-set is one selected frame compared to a stack and average of 5 selected frames taken in one second time. Although there are certainly differences in the visible minor detail, caused by the seeing, the global shape of the satellite is very comparable in both results. The obvious elongated shape was visible in all frames of the session, independently if it were good or less good frames. Here is a comparison of the remnant, to the mid-radiators of the ISS taken at approximately the same distance. So a real size-to-size comparison to illustrate the considerable dimensions of this remnant:



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