Catastrophe on the Horizon: A Scenario-Based Future Effect of Orbital Space Debris
Air Command and Staff College Maxwell Air Force Base United States
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Orbital space debris can be defined as dead satellites, discarded rocket parts, or simply flecks of paint or other small objects orbiting the earth. It is simply space junk, but junk that can be extremely dangerous to space assets. Most of the debris concerns are associated with satellites and manned space missions in Low-Earth orbit LEO. LEO extends out to about 5,000 kilometers from the earths equator.1 There are two other bands of orbits that contain satellites. The first, Geosynchronous-Earth orbit GEO is the outer most band and extends out to approximately 35,888 kilometers.