What is Space Debris?

Space debris is the man-made waste orbiting in space. It is also called space junk or orbital debris. The common examples of space debris are discarded rockets, damaged parts of space shuttles or spacecraft, and mission related junk. This debris can be very dangerous for the orbiting spacecraft or satellites, as they may obstruct the path of orbiting vehicles and cause damage to them. NASA has traced more than 50,000 pieces of junk orbiting the Earth. They pose a potential collision threat to spacecraft with humans aboard. One such example of damage was observed in 1996, when a French satellite was damaged by the debris of a rocket that had exploded a decade earlier.

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