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Orbital debris issuesMan-made orbital debris, identified as a potential hazard to future space activities, is grouped into size categories. At least 79 satellites have broken up in orbit to date and, in combination with exploded rocket casings and antisatellite debris, threaten 10 km/sec collisions with other orbiting platforms. Only 5 percent of the debris is connected to payloads. The total population of orbiting objects over 4 cm in diameter could number as high as 15,000, and at 1 cm in diameter could be 32,000, based on NASA and NORAD studies. NASA has initiated the 10 yr Space Debris Assessment Program to characterize the hazards of orbiting debris, the potential damage to typical spacecraft components, and to identify means of controlling the damage.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Kessler, D. J. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: Advances in Space Research
Volume: 5
Issue: 2, 19
ISSN: 0273-1177
Subject Category
Distribution Limits