Cerise (satellite)


Cerise sat broke.jpg
Illustration of debris colliding with Cerise
Mission typeMilitary reconnaissance
COSPAR ID1995-033B
SATCAT no.23606
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerAlcatel Space · Surrey Satellite Technology
Launch mass50 kg (110 lb)
Dimensions0.6 × 0.3 × 0.3 m (1.97 × 0.98 × 0.98 ft)
Start of mission
Launch date7 July 1995, 16:23:34 (1995-07-07UTC16:23:34) UTC
RocketAriane 4 V-75
Launch siteGuiana Space Centre ELA-2
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Perigee altitude581 km (361 mi)
Apogee altitude589 km (366 mi)
Mean motion14.94 rev/day
Epoch27 December 2016 12:15:03 UTC

Cerise (French for "cherry") was a French military reconnaissance satellite. Its main purpose was to intercept HF radio signals for French intelligence services.[1] With a mass of 50 kg, it was launched by an Ariane rocket from Kourou in French Guiana at 17:23 UT, 7 July 1995.[1] Cerise's initial orbital parameters were period 98.1 min, apogee 675 km, perigee 666 km, and inclination 98.0 deg.[1]

It was hit by a catalogued space debris object from an Ariane rocket in 1996, making it the first verified case of an accidental collision between two artificial objects in space.[2]

The collision tore off a 2.8-2.9 metre (9.2-9.5 foot) portion of Cerise's gravity-gradient stabilization boom, which left the satellite severely damaged.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 501". NASA. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  2. ^ "CO2 prolongs life of space junk". BBC News. 5 May 2005. Retrieved 8 March 2006.
  3. ^ "History of On-Orbit Satellite Fragmentations" (PDF). NASA Orbital Debris Program Office. June 2008. pp. 368–369. Retrieved 7 December 2013.

External links

  • NSSDC Master Catalog - Cerise
  • National geographic image of the collision