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Encyclopedia > Space debris

Space debris or orbital debris, also called space junk and space waste, are the objects in orbit around Earth created by man 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, and other small particles[1]. In physics, an orbit is the path that an object makes, around another object, whilst under the influence of a source of centripetal force, such as gravity. ... Earth is the third planet in the Solar system. ... A Redstone rocket, part of the Mercury program A rocket is a vehicle, missile or aircraft which obtains thrust by the reaction to the ejection of fast moving exhaust gas from within a rocket engine. ... A satellite is any object that orbits another object (which is known as its primary). ... Radar-equipped Ocean Reconnaissance SATellite or RORSAT is the western name given to the Soviet Upravlenniye Sputnik-Aktivny (US-A) satellites. ...

The "energy flash" of a hypervelocity impact during a simulation of what happens when a piece of orbital debris hits a spacecraft in orbit.
The "energy flash" of a hypervelocity impact during a simulation of what happens when a piece of orbital debris hits a spacecraft in orbit.

According to Edward Tufte's book Envisioning Information, space debris objects have included a glove lost by astronaut Ed White on the first American space-walk, a camera Michael Collins lost near the spacecraft Gemini 10, garbage bags, a wrench and a toothbrush. Most of those unusual objects have re-entered the atmosphere of the Earth within weeks due to the orbits they were released at and their small sizes. Things like these are not major contributors to the space debris environment. On the other side, explosion events are a major contribution to the space debris problem. About 100 tons of fragments generated during approximately 200 such events are still in orbit. Space debris is most concentrated in low Earth orbit, though some extends out past geosynchronous orbit. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1474x1134, 223 KB) Description: Impact Studies. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1474x1134, 223 KB) Description: Impact Studies. ... Hypervelocity is usually refered to a very high velocity, such as over 10,000 feet per second. ... Edward Rolf Tufte (IPA /ˈtʌf. ... Edward White Edward Higgins White, II (November 14, 1930 - January 27, 1967) was an American astronaut. ... Astronaut Bruce McCandless on an untethered EVA Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth and outside of his or her spacecraft. ... Michael Collins (born October 31, 1930) is a former American astronaut and test pilot. ... Gemini 10 (officially Gemini X) was a 1966 manned spaceflight in NASAs Gemini program. ... Earth is the third planet in the Solar system. ... A low Earth orbit (LEO) is an orbit in which objects such as satellites are below intermediate circular orbit (ICO) and far below geostationary orbit, but typically around 350 - 1400 km above the Earths surface. ... A geosynchronous orbit is a geocentric orbit that has the same orbital period as the sidereal rotation period of the Earth. ...


Space debris has become a growing concern in recent years, since collisions at orbital velocities can be highly damaging to functioning satellites and can also produce even more space debris in the process. Some spacecraft, like the International Space Station, are now armored to deal with this hazard. Also astronauts on EVA are vulnerable; see Extra-vehicular activity. International Space Station insignia ISS Statistics Crew: 2 As of March 5, 2006 Perigee: 352. ... Astronaut Bruce McCandless on an untethered EVA Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth and outside of his or her spacecraft. ...


The first verified collision with catalogued space debris occurred in 1996, tearing off a boom from the French satellite Cerise. 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... Cerise was a French millitary reconnaissance satellite. ...


Clouds of very small particles are not as serious but cause erosive damage, like sandblasting. Sandblasting is a generic term for the process of smoothing, shaping and cleaning a hard surface by forcing solid particles across that surface at high speeds. ...

Contents


Mitigation measures

Spatial density of space debris by altitude according to ESA MASTER-2001.
Spatial density of space debris by altitude according to ESA MASTER-2001.

In order to mitigate life would also be an effective mitigation measure. This could be facilitated with a "terminator tether," an electrodynamic tether that is rolled out, and slows down the spacecraft.[2] In cases when a direct (and controlled) de-orbit would require too much fuel the satellite can also be brought to an orbit where atmospheric drag would cause it to de-orbit after some years. Such a maneuver has been successfully performed with the French Spot-1 satellite in the end of 2003. It will re-enter in approximately 15 years. Image File history File links Spatial Density of Fragmentation Debris, generated it myself File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Spatial Density of Fragmentation Debris, generated it myself File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Artists conception of satellite with a tether Tether propulsion uses long, strong strings (known as Tethers) to change the orbits of spacecraft. ...


In orbital altitudes where it would not be economically feasible to de-orbit a satellite, like in the geostationary ring they are brought to a graveyard orbit where no operational satellites are present. A graveyard orbit is an orbit where spacecraft are intentionally placed at the end of their operational life. ...


Proposals have been made for ways to "sweep" space debris back into Earth's atmosphere, including automated tugs, laser brooms to vaporize or nudge particles into rapidly-decaying orbits, or huge aerogel blobs to absorb impacting junk and eventually fall out of orbit with them trapped inside. However, currently most effort is being devoted to prevention of collisions by keeping track of larger debris, and prevention of more debris. A laser broom is a proposed ground-based laser beam-powered propulsion system whose purpose is to sweep space debris out of the path of the International Space Station. ... A 2. ...


Other ideas include the gathering of larger objects into an orbital "junk yard", where they could be used as resources should future needs arise, while keeping them out of the way.


Space debris measurements

The Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) is an important source of information on the small particle space debris environment
Enlarge
The Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) is an important source of information on the small particle space debris environment

The U.S. Space Command is maintaining a catalogue currently containing about 10,000 objects, also to prevent misinterpretation as hostile missiles. Observation data gathered by a number of ground based radar facilities and telescopes as well as by a space based telescope[3] is used to maintain this catalogue. Nevertheless, the majority of debris objects remain unobserved. There are more than 600,000 objects larger than 1 cm in orbit (according to the ESA Meteoroid and Space Debris Terrestrial Environment Reference, the MASTER-2005 model). Cropped and scaled to 50% from http://images. ... Cropped and scaled to 50% from http://images. ... NASAs Long Duration Exposure Facility, a school-bus sized cylindrical space experiment rack, exposed various material samples to outer space for about 5. ... M*A*S*H , see Corporal Walter (Radar) OReilly. ...


Other sources of knowledge on the actual space debris environment include measurement campaigns by the ESA Space Debris Telescope, TIRA[4], Goldstone radar, Haystack radar,[5] and the Cobra Dane phased array radar.[6] The data gathered during these campaigns is used to validate models of the debris environment like ESA-MASTER. Such models are the only means of assessing the impact risk caused by space debris as only larger objects can be regularly tracked. The ESA Space Debris Telescope is located on the island of Tenerife, Spain. ... The Cobra Dane Radar is a radar installation in Shemya, Alaska initially designed to monitor for Soviet ICBMs. ...


Returned space debris hardware is also a valuable source of information on the (submillimetre) space debris environment. The LDEF satellite deployed by STS-41-C Challenger and retrieved by STS-32 Columbia spent 68 months in orbit. The close examination of its surfaces allowed the analysis of the directional distribution and the composition of debris flux. The EURECA satellite deployed by STS-46 Atlantis in 1992 and retrieved by STS-57 Endeavour in 1993 could provide additional insight. A millimetre (American spelling: millimeter, symbol mm) is an SI unit of length that is equal to one thousandth of a metre. ... NASAs Long Duration Exposure Facility, a school-bus sized cylindrical space experiment rack, exposed various material samples to outer space for about 5. ... STS-41-C was the 11th Space Shuttle mission and the fifth for Challenger. ... The Challenger breaks apart 73 seconds into its final mission, STS-51-L. Space Shuttle Challenger (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-099) was NASAs second Space Shuttle orbiter to be put into service, after Columbia. ... STS-32 was the 33rd launch of the Space Shuttle, the 9th launch of Space Shuttle Columbia. ... Space Shuttle Columbia (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-102) was the first space shuttle in NASAs orbital fleet. ... STS-46 was a NASA space shuttle mission launched in 1992. ... The Space Shuttle orbiter Atlantis landing in 1997 Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-104) is one of five NASA space shuttles. ... The STS-57 was a NASA mission in the summer of 1993. ... Shuttle Orbiter Endeavour (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105), is the fifth and final, and therefore, the youngest and newest, operational NASA space shuttle to be built. ...


The solar arrays of the Hubble Space Telescope returned during missions STS-61 Endeavour and STS-109 Columbia are an important source of information on the debris environment. The impact craters found on the surface were counted and classified by ESA to provide another means for validating debris environment models. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a telescope in orbit around the Earth. ... // Crew Commander: Richard O. Covey (4) Pilot: Kenneth D. Bowersox (2) Payload Commander: F. Story Musgrave (5) Mission Specialist 1: Kathryn C. Thornton (3) Mission Specialist 2: Claude Nicollier (2) - ESA Switzerland Mission Specialist 3: Jeffrey A. Hoffman (4) Mission Specialist 5: Thomas D. Akers (3) Mission Parameters Mass: Orbiter... Shuttle Orbiter Endeavour (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105), is the fifth and final, and therefore, the youngest and newest, operational NASA space shuttle to be built. ... This is a mission of the United States Space Shuttle Crew Scott D. Altman (3), Commander Duane G. Carey (1), Pilot John M. Grunsfeld (4), Payload Commander Nancy J. Currie (4), Mission Specialist James H. Newman (4) , Mission Specialist Richard M. Linnehan (3), Mission Specialist Michael J. Massimino (1), Mission... Space Shuttle Columbia (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-102) was the first space shuttle in NASAs orbital fleet. ... This article is about the European Space Agency. ...


Trivia

Lottie Williams is on record as the first and only (as of January 2006) person ever to be hit by space debris created by humans. While walking in a park in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on January 22, 1997 at 3:30 am, she noticed a light in the sky that she said looked like a meteor. Minutes later, Williams was hit in the shoulder by a 6-inch blackened metal object that was later confirmed to be part of the fuel tank of a Delta II rocket which had launched a U.S. Air Force satellite in 1996. Ms. Williams was not injured.[7] Nickname: Where the South Meets the West Official website: www. ... A burst of meteors A meteor is the visible path of a meteoroid that enters the Earths (or another bodys) atmosphere, commonly called a shooting star or falling star. ... A Delta II rocket launches from Cape Canaveral carrying a GPS satellite The Boeing IDS Delta II family of launch vehicles has been in service since 1989. ... The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerospace branch of the United States armed forces. ... A satellite is any object that orbits another object (which is known as its primary). ...


See also

Near-Earth objects (NEO) are asteroids, comets and large meteoroids whose orbit intersects Earths orbit and which may therefore pose a collision danger. ... The Kessler Syndrome is a scenario, proposed by NASA consultant Donald J. Kessler, in which the volume of space debris in Low Earth Orbit is so high that objects in orbit are struck by debris, creating even more space debris and a greater risk of further impacts. ... Planetes (Ancient Greek: ΠΛΑΝΗΤΕΣ (Wanderers), Japanese Katakana: プラネテス) is a manga by Makoto Yukimura and a 26-episode anime of the same name, that was produced by Sunrise and broadcast on NHK in Japan from October 2003 through April 2004. ...

References

  1. (1999). Technical report on space debris. (PDF) United Nations. URL accessed on 2006-04-05.ISBN 9211008131
  2. Christensen, Bill The Terminator Tether Aims to Clean Up Low Earth Orbit. (HTML) URL accessed on 2006-03-08.
  3. The Space-Based Visible Program. (HTML) MIT Lincoln Laboratory. URL accessed on 2006-03-08.
  4. Klinkrad, H. Monitoring Space – Efforts Made by European Countries. (PDF) URL accessed on 2006-03-08.
  5. MIT Haystack Observatory. (HTML) URL accessed on 2006-03-08.
  6. AN/FPS-108 COBRA DANE. (HTML) URL accessed on 2006-03-08.
  7. Today in Science History. (HTML) URL accessed on 2006-03-08.

To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... April 5 is the 95th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (96th in leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... March 8 is the 67th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (68th in Leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... March 8 is the 67th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (68th in Leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... March 8 is the 67th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (68th in Leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... March 8 is the 67th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (68th in Leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... March 8 is the 67th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (68th in Leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... March 8 is the 67th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (68th in Leap years). ...

External links

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Space debris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1039 words)
Space debris or orbital debris, also called space junk and space waste, are the objects in orbit around Earth created by man that no longer serve any useful purpose.
Space debris is most concentrated in low Earth orbit, though some extends out past geosynchronous orbit.
Space debris has become a growing concern in recent years, since collisions at orbital velocities can be highly damaging to functioning satellites and can also produce even more space debris in the process.
Debris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (726 words)
In cosmology, debris usually refers to the remains of spacecraft that have either fallen to Earth or are still orbiting Earth, and is generally known as space debris.
Space debris may also consist of natural components such as chunks of rock and ice.
In medicine, debris usually refers to biological matter that has accumulated or lodged in surgical instruments and is referred to as surgical debris.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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