MOSCOW, June 30. /TASS/. Russia’s Progress MS-17 space freighter launched from the Baikonur spaceport will have a near-miss with a Falcon-9 rocket fragment and a Starlink satellite of Elon Musk’s SpaceX on July 2, the state space corporation Roscosmos reported on Wednesday.
"According to the data of the Main Information and Analysis Center of the Automated Warning System of Hazardous Situations in near-Earth Space at the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIIMash, part of Roscosmos), a spacecraft of the Starlink satellite system and a fragment of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle of SpaceX are expected to pass dangerously close to the Progress MS-17 space freighter on July 2, 2021," Roscosmos said in a statement.
According to preliminary data, the near-miss with the Starlink 1691 satellite will occur at 00:32 a.m. Moscow time approximately at a distance of about 1.5 km and three minutes later a fragment of the US Falcon 9 carrier rocket launched in 2020 will pass dangerously close to the Russian resupply spaceship at a distance of around 500 m, the Russian space agency specified.
"The near-miss will occur three hours and a half before the Progress MS-17 spaceship docks with the International Space Station scheduled for 04:02 a.m. Moscow time on July 2," Roscosmos added.
The Russian space control capabilities are continuously monitoring the situation, it stressed.
A Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Progress MS-17 space freighter blasted off from Site No. 31 (the Vostok launch pad) of the Baikonur spaceport at 02:27 a.m. Moscow time. The resupply ship will travel to the space station under a two-orbit scheme and is set to dock with the Russian Poisk module of the International Space Station at 04:02 a.m. Moscow time on July 2.
Head of the TsNIIMash Information and Analysis Center Igor Bakaras earlier told TASS that about 3,000 operational spacecraft and approximately 7,000 tonnes of space junk orbit the Earth.
The situation in the low-Earth orbit space will worsen considerably due to the growing number of multi-satellite clusters, he warned. This may also increase the number of collisions of space objects in that area substantially, the specialist said.