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“Can You Hear Me Now?”

If you experienced spotty service from your Iridium satellite phone over the last few days, you’re not alone. The trouble started on Tuesday when one of Iridium’s 66 in-orbit satellites collided with a defunct but fully intact Russian military satellite about 485 miles above Siberia. The 2,000-lb Russian satellite slammed into its 1,000-lb counterpart at a mind-boggling speed of 25,200 mph. The collision will likely add hundreds of bits of ‘space junk’ to the 18,000 pieces of the stuff tracked by the U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Space Operations Center.

Since Tuesday, Iridium has worked to cover the gap left by the crash. They plan to replace the destroyed satellite with one of eight spares flying in a lower orbit, but in the meantime will use their remaining 65 satellites and four ground stations to route around the problem. They expected service to return to normal today.

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