Mission control 'saves science'

Every minute, ESA's Earth observation satellites gather dozens of gigabytes of data about our planet—enough information to fill the pages on a 100-metre long bookshelf. Flying in low-Earth orbits, these spacecraft are continuously ...

Luxembourg and US agree to deepen cooperation in space

The tiny EU country of Luxembourg and the United States agreed on Friday to work more closely on projects in space, including research and exploration as well as defence and commerce.

Recognising sustainable behaviour

Solving the growing problem of space debris will require everyone who flies rockets and satellites to adhere to sustainable practices, which doesn't always happen. Now there will be a way to recognise those who do.

Rensselaer team developing tool to battle space debris

A team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is building a semi-autonomous trash collector for space, which they have fittingly named OSCaR. (You can see OSCaR here) The acronym stands for "Obsolete Spacecraft ...

Ridding space of old satellites and debris

With constellations of thousands of telecommunication mini satellites expected to orbit Earth in the near future, the risk of space-debris collisions will grow. For Nobu Okada, it's an opportunity.

How a startup plans to clean up space

Since 2012, engineers at EPFL's Space Center have been hard at work on a new junk-clearing satellite to capture debris orbiting the earth. The team has now shifted up a gear, founding a company called ClearSpace to pick up ...

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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