2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 23 May 2005 18:06:05 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] "Space Junkyard"
Space Junkyard

What goes up - from satellites to shuttles - leaves debris that, for the
most part, is still floating in orbit around Earth.

By Frank D. Roylance
Baltimore Sun 
May 20, 2005

On Jan. 17, the engine from a Thor rocket launched 31 years ago was
soaring southward, 550 miles over the African continent. At the same
time, a fragment of a Chinese rocket that blew up five years ago was
high over the Pacific Ocean, also headed south.

Incredibly, the two chunks of metal flew into the same spot over
Antarctica at the same instant.

The high-speed collision, reported last month by NASA's Orbital Debris
Quarterly News, created even more orbiting space junk. It also drew
renewed attention to the litter that surrounds our planet - and efforts
to keep the neighborhood from becoming even more cluttered and dangerous.

"It's sort of a classic environmental problem, not unlike air pollution
or water pollution," said Nicholas L. Johnson, chief scientist and
program manager for NASA's orbital debris program. "If you wait until
you start seeing negative consequences, then the environment is pretty
far gone already, and cleaning it up can be very, very difficult."

When the shuttle Discovery is finally launched, most likely in July, it
will join more than 13,000 pieces of orbiting hardware that the U.S.
military tracks 24 hours a day.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
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