Preparing for Sentinel-6's challenging early days

Teams at ESA's mission control centre are getting ready to ensure a new Sentinel Earth Observation mission safely arrives in its correct orbit, from where it will map, measure and monitor rising sea levels after its launch ...

The current state of space debris

Swirling fragments of past space endeavors are trapped in orbit around Earth, threatening our future in space. Over time, the number, mass and area of these debris objects grows steadily, boosting the risk to functioning ...

Space debris observed for the first time during the day

On the afternoon of February 10, 2009, the operational communications satellite Iridium 33 collided with the obsolete Cosmos 2251 communications satellite over Siberia at an altitude of roughly 800 kilometers. The collision ...

Image: Sloshing in space

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst during his 2018 stay on the International Space Station, with two floating SPHERES robots tethered to a container of liquid, serving to simulate the experience of pulling a derelict satellite ...

Scientists find way to track space junk in daylight

Scientists said Tuesday they had discovered a way to detect space debris even in daylight hours, potentially helping satellites to avoid the ever-growing cloud of junk orbiting the planet.

Japan to boost space cooperation with US in revised policy

Japan said Monday it will step up its defense capability in space and improve its ability to detect and track missiles, while cooperating with the United States in response to what it called a growing threat from North Korea ...

Reducing the risk of space debris collision

As humanity expands its horizons beyond the Earth and begins to consider space missions with extended duration, sustainability necessitates the launch of more space vehicles, increasing the risk of collision with existing ...

Solving the space junk problem

Space is getting crowded. Aging satellites and space debris crowd low-Earth orbit, and launching new satellites adds to the collision risk. The most effective way to solve the space junk problem, according to a new study, ...

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Space debris

Space debris or orbital debris, also called space junk and space waste, are the objects in orbit around Earth created by humans, and that no longer serve any useful purpose. They consist of everything from entire spent rocket stages and defunct satellites to explosion fragments, paint flakes, dust, and slag from solid rocket motors, coolant released by RORSAT nuclear powered satellites, deliberate insertion of small needles, and other small particles. Clouds of very small particles may cause erosive damage, like sandblasting. Space "junk" has become a growing concern in recent years, since collisions at orbital velocities can be highly damaging to functional satellites and can also produce even more space debris in the process. This is called the Kessler Syndrome. Some spacecraft, like the International Space Station, are now armored to mitigate damage from this hazard. Astronauts on space-walks are also vulnerable.

The first major space debris collision was on February 10, 2009 at 16:56 UTC. The deactivated Kosmos-2251 and an operational Iridium 33 collided 789 kilometres (490 mi) over northern Siberia. The relative speed of impact was about 11.7 kilometres per second (7.3 mi/s), or approximately 42,120 kilometres per hour (26,170 mph). Both satellites were destroyed. The collision scattered considerable debris, which poses an elevated risk to spacecraft.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA