Kosmos 2251
A Strela-2M communication satellite, similar to Kosmos 2251.
Mission typeMilitary communication
COSPAR ID1993-036A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.22675
Mission duration5 years (nominal mission)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeStrela-2M
Launch mass900 kg
Start of mission
Launch date16 June 1993, 04:17 UTC
Launch sitePlesetsk, Site 132/1
End of mission
Last contact1995
Decay date10 February 2009
(destroyed in space)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric[2]
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude783 km
Apogee altitude821 km
Period101.0 minutes

Kosmos-2251 (Russian: Космос-2251 meaning Cosmos 2251) was a Russian Strela-2M military communications satellite. It was launched into Low Earth orbit from Site 132/1 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 04:17 UTC on 16 June 1993, by a Kosmos-3M carrier rocket.[3][4] The Strela satellites had a lifespan of 5 years, and the Russian government reported that Kosmos-2251 ceased functioning in 1995.[5] Russia was later criticised by The Space Review for leaving a defunct satellite in a congested orbit, rather than deorbiting it. In response, Russia noted that they were (and are)[6] not required to do so under international law.[7][8] In any case, the KAUR-1 satellites had no propulsion system, which is usually required for deorbiting.[9][10]


Main article: 2009 satellite collision

At 16:56 UTC on 10 February 2009,[11] it collided with Iridium 33 (1997-051C), an Iridium satellite,[12] in the first major collision of two satellites in Earth orbit. The Iridium satellite, which was operational at the time of the collision, was destroyed, as was Kosmos-2251.[13] NASA reported that a large amount of debris was produced by the collision.[14][15]

See also


  1. ^ Brian Weeden (10 November 2010). "2009 Iridium-Cosmos Collision Fact Sheet" (PDF). Secure World Foundation.
  2. ^ https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraft/displayTrajectory.action?id=1993-036A - 27 February 2020
  3. ^ Wade, Mark. "Strela-2M". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 10 July 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  4. ^ Wade, Mark. "Kosmos-11k65". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  5. ^ "First Satellite Collision Called Threat in Space". The Moscow Times. 13 February 2009.
  6. ^ Chelsea Muñoz-Patchen (2018). "Regulating the Space Commons: Treating SpaceDebris as Abandoned Property in Violation of the Outer Space Treaty". Chicago Journal of International Law. 19: 233.
  7. ^ Brian Weeden (23 February 2009). "Billiards in Space". The Space Review.
  8. ^ Michael Listner (13 February 2012). "Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 three years later: where are we now?". The Space Review.
  9. ^ Игорь Королев. Авария на $50 млн // Ведомости, № 26 (2296), 13 февраля 2009
  10. ^ Brian Harvey; Olga Zakutnyaya (2011). Russian Space Probes: Scientific Discoveries and Future Missions. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 978-1441981509.
  11. ^ Iannotta, Becky (11 February 2009). "U.S. Satellite Destroyed in Space Collision". Space.com. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  12. ^ "Office for Outer Space Affairs". United Nations. Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2009. Reported as colliding with Iridum 33 (1997-051C) on 10/02/2009
  13. ^ "Russian and US satellites collide". BBC News. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2009. Russia has not commented on claims that the satellite was out of control.
  14. ^ "2 orbiting satellites collide 500 miles up". Associated Press. 11 February 2009. Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  15. ^ "U.S. Space debris environment and operational updates" (PDF). NASA. 7 February 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2010.