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Report on orbital debrisThe success of space endeavors depends upon a space environment sufficiently free of debris to enable the safe and dependable operation of spacecraft. An environment overly cluttered with debris would threaten the ability to utilize space for a wide variety of scientific, technological, military, and commercial purposes. Man made space debris (orbital debris) differs from natural meteoroids because it remains in earth orbit during its lifetime and is not transient through the space around the Earth. The orbital debris environment is considered. The space environment is described along with sources of orbital debris. The current national space policy is examined, along with ways to minimize debris generation and ways to survive the debris environment. International efforts, legal issues and commercial regulations are also examined.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1989
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:101855
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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NameType 19900003319.pdf STI