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Firstly, has a man-made satellite, or indeed any spacecraft, ever collided with space debris and been destroyed? What are the chances of this happening? (I imagine very slim, but how slim?) And do we check that there is no space debris where we are going to send our spacecraft before we launch it?

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The answer is yes, in 2009 an Iridium satellite was destroyed in a collision with a old Russian one.

See the NASA page on the problem.

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  • $\begingroup$ The link doesn't seem to be pointed to the intended page, nowadays. $\endgroup$
    – Pere
    Feb 11 at 12:33

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