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Space Debris Orbiting Earth

Space Debris Orbiting Earth:

The Government of India has announced that 111 payloads and 105 space debris have been identified as Indian objects orbiting Earth.

  • All orbiting debris will affect the future of outer space and future missions.
  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has also been carrying out several studies on the impact of growing space debris on the space environment.
  • Space debris refers to man-made objects in Earth’s orbit that no longer serve a useful purpose.
  • This includes defunct satellites, spent rocket stages, and fragments of debris from collisions or other events.
  • The floating space debris is a potential hazard for operational satellites and colliding with them can leave the satellites dysfunctional.
  • This overpopulation of space with objects and debris is referred to as Kessler Syndrome.
  • The accumulation of space debris in specific orbital regions can limit the availability of desirable orbital slots for future missions.
  • The increasing amount of space debris makes it more challenging for satellite operators and space agencies to accurately track and predict the orbits of objects in space.
  • In 2022, ISRO set up the System for Safe and Sustainable Operations Management (IS 4 OM) to continually monitor objects posing collision threats, predict the evolution of space debris, and mitigate the risk posed by space debris.
  • ISRO also carried out 21 collision avoidance manoeuvres of Indian operational space assets in 2022 to avoid collisions with other space objects.
  • ISRO has also set up a Centre for Space Debris Research to monitor and mitigate the threat of space debris.
  • ‘Project NETRA’ is also an early warning system in space to detect debris and other hazards to Indian satellites.