Thursday, May 26, 2005

U.S. Charts Junkyard in the Heavens

Space Junk

By Martin Sieff
M & C News
WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- Whoever controls the high ground of near-Earth space potentially controls the world -- but you`d better be a careful driver, for the space freeways of low Earth orbit are filled with man-made junk and there is more gathering there all the time.

     NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, currently tracks 13,000 man-made objects in space on a continual basis, of which only 6 percent are satellites. The endless monitoring is carried out by the 1st Space Control Squadron of the U.S. Air Force`s Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo.

     The amount of debris, in fact, is far larger than that.

     "Space Command only tracks objects larger than a baseball," Theresa Hitchens, director of the Center for Defense Information in Washington, told United Press International. "But there are between 100,000 and 200,000 pieces of space debris it doesn`t track between the size of a baseball and a marble -- and there are literally millions of smaller bios of debris than that."

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