It was Bigelow Aerospace’s own Twitter account that warned of this possible orbital shock.
“Today, the United States Air Force notified us that there is a 5.6% chance of Genesis II colliding with the inactive Russian satellite Cosmos 1300 in about 15 hours,” says the tweet. “Although this is a relatively low probability, it shows that the low Earth orbit is increasingly filled with space debris.”
The collision should occur – if it happens – in less than an hour.
“Future habitable space stations will have to face this dangerous reality,” Bigelow continued in a later tweet. “If we do not control the proliferation of satellites, human life in the low Earth orbit could become very dangerous.”
Genesis II is an experimental habitat that was launched into space in 2007. It was removed in 2011 after a failure in its maneuvering system, and it actually lasted two years longer than it should, a Bigelow spokeswoman told Gizmodo.
Genesis II remains in orbit but is no longer collecting data.
According to the Bigelow spokeswoman, the United States Air Force told the company that the odds of a possible collision of 5.6% are quite low and that collisions considered dangerous or potentially significant are from 10% or more.
The spokeswoman said this was the first time that the United States Air Force warned the company of a possible collision. Genesis II is one of the two Bigelow spacecraft currently in orbit, the other is Genesis I.
The late Kosmos 1300 surveillance satellite, built and operated by the former Soviet Union, dates from 1981.
The Genesis II spacecraft is scheduled to be exorbitant at some point in the 2020s, so its destruction would not be a major loss.
The biggest risk is that this collision would produce large amounts of space debris, which in turn would increase the chances of new collisions, in an endless cascade of orbital destruction.
Bigelow’s intention was to share his concerns about the amount of garbage in the low Earth orbit, the company spokeswoman said. “We are seeing more and more satellites in space and the limits and licenses are not reduced,” he said.
Bigelow’s spokeswoman said any satellite launched by the company in the future “will have its own thrusters,” which should allow it to actively avoid collisions.
See the tweet down below!
Today, we were notified by the US Air Force that there is a 5.6% chance that Genesis II will collide with dead Russian satellite Cosmos 1300 in 15 hours. Although this is a relatively low probability, it brings to light that low Earth orbit is becoming increasingly more littered. pic.twitter.com/l6McbDgRNo
— Bigelow Aerospace (@BigelowSpace) September 17, 2019