Space debris tracking service LeoLabs has sounded the alarm after discovering that two defunct and decommissioned satellites are hurtling towards each other and may collide over the continental US this week.

The pair of satellites are expected to cross paths on January 29 at 23:39:35 UTC, at an altitude of around 560 miles (901 kilometers) above Pittsburgh, PA. At a relative velocity of 9.1 miles per second (14.7 kilometers per second), the machines are expected to come within 50 to 100 feet (15 to 30 meters) of each other. However, there is a one in a hundred chance they’ll hit each other and create a huge debris field in orbit.

The bigger of the two is the decommissioned IRAS space telescope which was sent up in 1983, measuring 11.8 by 10.6 by 6.7 feet (3.6 by 3.24 by 2.05 meters) and having a launch mass of 2,388 pounds (1,083 kg).



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