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What Is Space Debris?

What Is Space Debris?

Russia blew up one of its old satellites in November in a missile test that sparked international anger because of the space debris it scattered around the Earth’s orbit.

  • Recently, a Chinese satellite (Tsinghua Science Satellite) had a near collision with one of the many chunks of debris left by the fallout of this Russian anti-satellite missile test.
  • With more countries venturing into space with every passing decade, the problem is simply ballooning out of control and recent events, like the anti-satellite weapons test by Russia, are only exacerbating the problem.
  • The debris is now adding to the space junk problem and posing a major risk to the International Space Station (ISS) and the satellites in geostationary orbit.
  • The debris also poses a potential threat to the lives of the US, Russian, and Chinese astronauts and cosmonauts currently in space.

Space Debris:

  • Space debris poses a global threat to the continued use of space-based technologies that support critical functions like communication, transport, weather and climate monitoring, remote sensing.
  • Predicting collision probability from these space objects is crucial from the national security perspective as well as for the protection of public and private space assets of Indian origin.
  • The real amount of space debris is said to be between 500,000 and one million pieces as current sensor technology cannot detect smaller objects.
  • They all travel at speeds of up to 17,500 mph (28,162 kmph) fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft.
  • Outcome of this project will directly support the Indian space sector, valued at $7 billion (Rs 51,334 crore) by providing an operationally flexible, scalable, transparent and indigenous collision probability solution.

 

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