Tiny space particle blows 40cm hole in ESA’s Sentinel satellite


e European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Sentinel-1A satellite in 2014 as part of its Copernicus Program, the largest earth observation project in history. The satellite was deployed without incident and has been making radar scans of Earth ever since. However, the ESA detected an unusual drop in power on August 23rd. It turns out that Sentinel-1A was hit by a teeny, tiny meteorite that made a considerably larger hole.

Sentinel-1A has two large solar panel arrays that supply it with more than enough power to keep it operational. Thus, it wasn’t an emergency when the power drop was detected. It might have been a sign of a larger impending failure, so the ground control team began investigating. There are several cameras on the satellite that were used to monitor solar panel deployment after the 2014 launch, but they were never intended to be used again. The ESA was able to fire them up and beam the images back to Earth, though.

The camera feed showed a section of the solar panel had been damaged, most likely from a collision with a micro-meteorite. The damaged area is about 40cm across (about 15.7-inches). The loss of power won’t be a problem for the satellite, but it’s a reminder of how fast things are moving in space. Even something tiny can have a huge amount of energy if its relative velocity is a few kilometers per second.

Ground tracking stations are supposed to warn of possible impacts so a satellite can move out of the way, but we can only reliably spot objects 5cm or larger in diameter. The ESA estimates that the object that struck the solar panel was no more than a few millimeters across — a space pebble. Had it been much larger, it could have caused serious damage to the craft. The ESA expects Sentinel-1A to continue operating normally.

Comments 4

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Kraig 17.09.2016 04:020
Además de esto asimismo deseábamos saber su opinión sobre ciertos
apartados señalados de cada una de ellas (quizá filosofía herramientas)
y, por último una pregunta que seguramente está en la psique de muchos futuros programadores:
Si es posible trasladar sencillamente un desarrollo de una plataforma a otra. http://btsdubai.com/index.php/component/k2/itemlist/user/5246
cerrajeros de autos en hialeah 13.09.2016 09:550
En lo concerniente al empleo para el hogar, la tecnología
RFID, nos deja dirigir la apertura de puertas con un sistema conocido como RFID
Ditital Door Lock, una cerradura electrónica, que se abbre al acercar a una distancia entre treinta y cuarenta centímetros el chip RFID.  http://cerrajeros-badalona.org/
Ahmed Dubai 06.09.2016 12:030
to follow on tweeter

wiboo media 06.09.2016 06:120
Hello! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok.

I'm definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.