In-orbit explosions can be related to the mixing of residual fuel that remain in tanks or fuel lines once a rocket stage or satellite is discarded in Earth orbit. The resulting explosion can destroy the object and spread its mass across numerous fragments with a wide spectrum of masses and imparted speeds.
Credit: ESA

What to do about orbital debris is now a day-to-day topic of conversation and concern. Lots of “debris cleaning” ideas are being literally floated. However, at the end of the day, is it all too little too late?

Then there’s the Kessler syndrome of debris making debris by on-orbit slamming between space leftovers that is already taking place.

Break-ups in Earth orbit of spacecraft have been recorded since 1961. Most were explosions of satellites and upper stages rather that accidental and intentional collisions.
Credit: ESA/ID&Sense/ONiRiXEL, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Was the result from the recent Russian anti-satellite (ASAT) test the scenario, the alarming wake-up call that serves as a tipping point to get everyone onboard to deal with space waste? Space.com contacted leading experts to weigh in on the worrisome situation of orbital debris.

Go my new Space.com story:

“Space debris: More storm clouds ahead in orbit, experts say – The problem isn’t going away anytime soon” at:

https://www.space.com/space-debris-more-problems-ahead

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