Space Debris. By: Ashley Barrera Astronomy 133 Spring 2009. A Greener Planet?. Every year, in almost every country around the world, people do their part to clean up our Earth.
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By: Ashley Barrera
In 1999 it was estimated there were 4 million pounds of space junk in low-Earth orbit, made up of 110,000 objects larger than 1 cm. -- large enough to damage a satellite or space-based telescope.
For example, a tiny speck of paint from a satellite dug a pit in a space shuttle window nearly a 1/4 in. wide.
In 1996, only 2 years after it went up, part of a Pegasus rocket made the most space debris by a spacecraft's destruction. It created a cloud of 300,000 pieces bigger than 4 mm, 700 of which were big enough to be catalogued. This event doubled the Hubble Space Telescope’s collision risk.
In 1958, America’s 2nd satellite, Vanguard I went into orbit. It worked for only 6 years, but is still up in space.
The “most dangerous garment in history” orbited with a speed of 28,000 km/h for one month in 1965. Edward White, a Gemini 4 astronaut, lost this glove during the 1st American space walk.
The Mir space station sent more than 200 objects into space in its first 10 years of operation. Most of them were garbage bags.
In June 2000, the total number of trackable space objects included 90 space probes, 2,671 satellites and 6,096 pieces of space junk.