Wed, 17 Sep 1997 23:05:30 -0400 (EDT)

Some info from my News email list that may be of general interest:

          September 16, 1997

          The United States Space Command, which tracks space
          objects for the military from Colorado Springs, says
          614 satellites populate the areas in and around 
          geostationary orbit, with roughly half of them dead or
          drifting uselessly.

      September 17, 1997
Mir Narrowly Avoids Collision With U.S. Satellite
     M OSCOW -- Even as crew members struggled to fix their central
     computer, the Russian space station Mir came within 500 to 1,000
     yards of colliding with a U.S. military satellite Monday night.
     The Mir survived without any damage. But the satellite came close
     enough that the three crew members, including U.S. astronaut
     Michael Foale, sealed themselves into the Soyuz re-entry capsule to
     make a fast getaway in case the space station was going to get hit.
     The Mir's latest adventure began Sunday. The Pentagon's Space
     Command, which routinely identifies potential collision paths, sent
     out warnings that a 220-pound U.S. military reconnaissance
     satellite would fly within one kilometer, or about 1,090 yards, of
     the Mir about 9:30 p.m. Monday.
     NASA officials identified the satellite Tuesday as a MSTI-2, known
     as "Misty," one of a series of small and inexpensive satellites.
     The satellite was launched in May 1994 to do research and was taken
     out of service in September that year, said Nicholas L. Johnson,
     NASA's chief scientist for orbital debris at the Johnson Space
     Center in Houston.

Jay Respler
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