Graphic representation of space debris in Earth orbit
As you go about your business, the orbit of the Earth every day becomes more and more dangerous. We do not notice any problem, but it is growing at a high rate. Moreover, if nothing is done, then in one day no country will be able to launch a rocket into space. It is about space junk.
Dump in orbit
Space debris should be considered as a by-product of the history of space exploration. Under this concept are all dead satellites and stations, as well as engines, fragments, parts and other mechanisms that litter the orbital environment. The problem is so serious that it was noted back in UN in 1993.
The analysis shows that about 220-300 thousand objects of technogenic origin now rotate in orbit. Their mass reaches about 5000 tons! Most of them are centimeter fragments, but they account for almost 17,000 with a size of 10 cm.
Space agencies are trying to track dangerous objects. Among them, 6% belong to active devices, 22% - non-working satellites, 17% - upper rocket stages, and 55% - garbage.
Who created the problem?
The European Space Agency offers various methods for capturing space debris
It is worth remembering the middle of the 20th century, when, together with the space race, active space exploration began. At that time, scientists did not care much about the waste, so parts of the missiles and non-performing satellites fell into the ocean, burned in the atmosphere or remained in orbit.
Now the systems reusable space ships and rockets are being promoted (thanks to Ilon Mask and other enthusiasts). Various cleaning systems are also considered. But the problem is that garbage is too much. If large fragments can still be somehow removed, then what to do with small ones that at high speeds can damage other working satellites or kill an astronaut?
Three specific countries are named as the culprits: Russia, US and China. The first two were noted at the initial stage of space flights. China joined later, but we managed to litter decently.
Statistics lead different. In one, the main culprit is called China, where 40% of the garbage falls on the country, 27.5% is America, and Russians are responsible for 25.5%. But other estimates put Russia in the first place (39.7%), then comes America (28.9%), and the Chinese close (22.8%). Of course, other countries also conducted launches, but they accounted for less than 10%.
It would be possible that there would be much less debris if it were not for certain situations that aggravated the situation For example, in 2007, China decided to destroy an obsolete satellite. Representatives found nothing better than launching a rocket into it. Because of this, 2.8 thousand new fragments were added in orbit.
The same was done by Americans in 2008, sending a missile to a broken spy satellite. The device was at a low altitude, so many parts burned in the atmosphere, but a certain number continued to rotate in orbit.
Interestingly, in 2009 the first collision of satellites occurred. The Soviet Cosmos-2251 crashed into the American Iridium, which caused 600 large new fragments.
It is important to understand that collisions have been recorded for a long time. Back in 1983, a 0.2-mm bit created a crack in the porthole of the American shuttle. In 1996, the French satellite flew to the third stage of the Ariane rocket. Moreover, daily small fragments fall to Earth, and large fragments several times a month. Therefore, it is necessary to save the situation as soon as possible.