A mockup of an Iridium satellite
|Operator||Iridium Satellite LLC|
|Launch mass||700 kilograms (1,500 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||14 September 1997|
|Launch site||Baikonur 81/23|
|End of mission|
|Destroyed||10 February 2009, 16:56 UTC|
|Perigee altitude||779.6 kilometres (484.4 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||793.9 kilometres (493.3 mi)|
Iridium 33 was a communications satellite launched by the United States for Iridium Communications. It was launched into low Earth orbit from Site 81/23 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 01:36 GMT on 14 September 1997, by a Proton-K carrier rocket with a Block DM2 upper stage. It was operated in Plane 3 of the Iridium satellite constellation, with an ascending node of 230.9°.
On 10 February 2009, at 16:56 GMT, Kosmos 2251 (a derelict Strela satellite) and Iridium 33 collided, resulting in the destruction of both spacecraft.NASA reported that a large amount of space debris was produced by the collision.