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The Day Space Stood Still
by Launchspace Staff Writers
Bethesda, MD (SPX) May 03, 2017

Near-Earth space is quick filling up with this trash. We have given it a fancy scientific name, "Resident Space Objects" or RSOs, but it is still just orbit-clogging trash that is the result of satellite break-ups and collisions.

Most people take space flight for granted. This October will mark the 60th anniversary of the Sputnik launch. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite and the Space Age. The spacecraft weighed only 184 pounds and carried only a radio transmitter inside its highly polished shell. This event immediately shocked the world, but its long-term impact was much greater. Access to space profoundly changed the shape of the twentieth century and every future century.

Human activity in space has produced societal benefits that improved the quality of life on Earth. Those first satellites, designed to study the space environment and test capabilities in Earth orbit, contributed critical knowledge toward developing satellite telecommunications, global positioning and advances in weather forecasting.

Orbital exploration initiated economic development that today delivers growing returns on invested funds. The challenges of space exploration have led to better understanding of our Universe and the solar system in which we live. Knowledge acquired from space exploration has also introduced new perspectives on our individual and collective place in the Universe.

Employing the complementary capabilities of both humans and robotic systems will continue to enable humankind to meet the most ambitious space exploration challenges, and to increase benefits for society. In fact, society has already accepted space applications as a fundamental part of every-day life.

Almost every activity in First World countries has made space-based services an integral part of commerce and leisure. Without space access, today's societies would have to revert back at least 50 years in terms of technologies, travel, communications, banking and entertainment.

Few people are aware of this vulnerability in the texture of today's life. Yet, we are careening with blatant indifference toward an end to our use of space by ignoring the two megatons of trash accumulating in front of our low-orbiting satellites.

Near-Earth space is quick filling up with this trash. We have given it a fancy scientific name, "Resident Space Objects" or RSOs, but it is still just orbit-clogging trash that is the result of satellite break-ups and collisions.

One day soon, this trash will overwhelm the system and space access to come to a devastating crash. As the trash collector once said, "You can pay me a little now, or you can paid me dearly later."

Man-Made Space Junk Puts Astronauts, Operational Spacecraft in Serious Danger
Moscow (Sputnik) Apr 26, 2017
The European Space Agency (ESA) has warned that man-made junk in space is getting out of hand. Radio Sputnik discussed the space debris problem with former head of the Space Debris Office of the European Space Agency, Dr. Heiner Klinkrad. During a conference on space debris, held in Germany this week, the ESA expressed concerns over the increasing danger of orbiting space trash. Some exper ... read more

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