>career ending

That's not true at all. Telescope data is fixed all the time, but the picture and video processing is published right along with the findings. There is nothing fake about it. Land-based telescopes have to look through the atmosphere, which introduces anomalies all the time. Some advanced telescopes actually have incorporated this correction for atmospheric disturbances into the optical hardware!

Yes, a bright flash can knock out an image sensor for as long as that light is being received. It usually smears into adjacent pixels when a lot of charge is dissipated quickly. But CCD detectors work by charging the individual pixel sensors at each refresh, and then light falling on those CCD elements discharges the voltage proportionally to the brightness. It can't be discharged to below zero.

But really, how bright would the sun's reflection off a small satellite be from a few thousand miles away? If they use long exposures, adjacent brighter stars are going to give you light smear artifacts anyway.