Did you know?
There is a site (stuffin.space) through which you can see in real-time what objects (satellites, used rockets, spaceships, debris such as toothbrushes) are in Earth’s orbit?
Unfortunately, even outer space has become quite polluted (full of debris), which threatens the continuation of human operations in space.
The European Space Agency also provides us with some updated figures about objects in Earth’s orbit:
– about 5,560 rockets launched since the beginning of the space age in 1957;
– the 5560 missiles placed in orbit around 9600 satellites;
– about 2300 satellites are still operational today;
– 22 300 is the approximate number of residual objects constantly monitored by the Space Surveillance Network;
– it is estimated that more than 500 collisions, explosions, and abnormal events have occurred as a result of space debris;
– the total mass of objects in orbit is about 8800 tons;
– using a statistical model, it is estimated that there are 34,000 objects larger than 10 cm in the Earth’s orbit, 900 0000 objects ranging in size from 1 to 10 cm, and 128 million objects between 1 mm and 1 cm.
Some of these residues appeared as a result of the 2009 collision between the inactive Russian satellite Cosmos 2251 and the American satellite Iridium 33. The impact took place at a speed of 35,000 km/h (most residues reach speeds of up to 29,000 km/h, almost 7 times the speed of a bullet).