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A new analysis has found that the threat posed by space debris to satellites in geosynchronous Earth orbits (GEO) is much greater than has been assumed until now. Daniel Oltrogge at Analytical Graphics Inc (AGI), and collaborators at AGI and satellite operators SES and Inmarsat, used six separate approaches to estimate the risk, finding broad agreement between them. The results indicate that the chances of collision in GEO are up to four orders of magnitude higher than some estimates have suggested, and those collisions can occur at much higher relative velocities than previously thought. The researchers predict that the population of active GEO satellites can be expected to suffer one potentially mission-terminating impact every four years on average.

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