The collision between a U.S. satellite and a Russian satellite will not affect the launch of the space shuttle Discovery, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
"The shuttle launch will not be affected," Michael Braukus, public affairs officer from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration headquarters, said in an email to Xinhua on Thursday morning.
The collision will pose no threat to the international space station (ISS), which orbits at an altitude of about 354 km well below the impact point between the Russian and U.S. satellites, Braukus said.
"At this time, we do not believe there is a danger to the international space station," the official said, adding that orbital debris experts are analyzing the possible risk.
Braukus said he was uncertain about the probability of two satellites colliding, but Tuesday's collision was the first.
He said the U.S. Space Surveillance Network managed by the Department of Defense was monitoring the space debris caused by the collision.
One satellite owned by Iridium Satellite LLC, which operates a constellation of 66 low Earth orbiting ones that provide mobile voice and data communications globally, collided with a defunct Russian satellite at nearly 790 km over Siberia. The 560-kg Iridium 33 satellite was launched in 1997 while the 900-kg Russian satellite was launched in 1993.