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Space Debris - A New Global Threat

Space Debris – A  New Global Threat 

Space debris are  parts of  rockets and other artificial satellites that are either dead or lost,  dead space crafts,  even tiny flecks of paints from space craft  moving in the Space ; They also include objects that are results of explosions in the Space ;  According to NASA there are millions of  such  junk pieces orbiting our Earth ;

Causes of Such Accumulation of Space Debris

Over the years there has been a significant rise in the number of artificial satellites being sent into the  Space  in order to gather accurate & relevant data useful to perform a range of objectives  such as scientific research, weather predictions, military support, Positioning, Navigation, Earth Imaging, Climate & Environment monitoring and Communications etc.   

According to the Index of Objects Launched into Outer Space, maintained by the ‘United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs’ there were 7389 individual satellites in the space at the end of April, 2021, showing an increase of 29.97 % as compared to 2020 ; The database also shows that since inception 11,139 satellites have been launched out of which only 7389 are in the Space, while the rest have either been  burnt up in the atmosphere or have returned to Earth in the form of debris, much like recent Chinese Long March 5C rocket, which dived into the Indian Ocean ;

The main fact is that  the dependence of various industries upon the satellite data has made the  total numbers of  satellites go up rapidly every year ;  By a natural argument it can be said that the growth of quantum of  such Space debris is directly proportional to the rise in the number of satellites sent in to the outer space ;

Concerns Over this Accumulation of Space Debris

a)      Most of this ‘Space junk’ is flying at very high speed and there are very high chances of unwarranted accidents to occur which will produce a dangerous amount of Space debris which will also disturb the channels of neighboring active satellites, transmitting critical information to Astronauts and International Space Centers ;

b)      This situation also has a potential to create a chain reaction leading to mass disaster which poses a  threat to safety of people & property on Earth and in Space as well as to the future operations and Space Explorations ;

c)      This is why Space Traffic Management &  Monitoring Space Debris are global challenges that need to be addressed immediately ;  However, it is a good news that  IADC, an international  forum of governmental bodies has been formed  for the purpose ;

[Source: An article by N. Mohanta in ‘Geospatial World’ – 28/05/2021]






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