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Russians say space rocket debris is health hazard

It is very easy to find space junk in this part of the taiga - the forest where Russia meets Kazakhstan. Chunks of light-alloy metal gleam here and there in the grass and bushes.
Russia's Proton rockets have put many satellites into orbit, earning more than $6bn or £3.8bn for the country's space industry.
But every time a rocket is launched, the discarded booster stages fall in this area of eastern Siberia, hundreds of kilometres from the Baikonur cosmodrome.
Some of them are parts of the fuel tanks that contained toxic fuel.

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Clean Space initiative
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ESA's Clean Space targets orbital debris and greener environment

Next year's Hollywood film Gravity features George Clooney stranded in orbit by cascading space junk. The threat is genuine, with debris levels rising steadily. ESA's new Clean Space initiative is developing methods of preserving near-Earth space - and the terrestrial environment, too.
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Navy Wants to Thwart Space Debris By Releasing More Space Debris

Floating hunks of metal, left over from half a century of space exploration and satellite deployment, litter the near-Earth regions of space.
Scientists working with the Naval Research Laboratory think they have a solution. They want to put a few dozen tonnes of new space debris into orbit.

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 NRL Scientists Propose Mitigation Concept of LEO Debris

Physicist and Engineers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Plasma Physics Division and Naval Centre for Space Technology are researching a technique to 'sweep' Low Earth Orbit (LEO) debris from space using an Active Debris Removal (ADR) system of deployed micron-scale dust.
About 100 tons of cosmic dust is introduced daily in the Earth's environment naturally in the form of micrometeorites. In addition to this natural source, human space activity also introduces large quantities of dust in space regularly. However, this dust is distributed over a very large volume, making it too widely dispersed to affect orbital debris.
The essential idea is that dust, if artificially deployed on orbit in opposite direction to the debris trajectory, can induce an enhanced drag on the debris. The novelty is that by choosing the dust characteristics, for instance, mass density, size, etc., it is possible to synchronize the rate of dust and debris descent. This offers the possibility to clear a very large volume of small debris by deploying a modest amount of dust, 20 to 40 tons, in a narrow layer and "sweeping" of the debris volume by the dust layer.

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 Australia joins the fight against space junk

Australia is backing a proposal to minimise the amount of 'space junk' circling the planet.
The plan has been put forward by the EU, and calls for an international code of conduct for outer space activities.

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Orbital junk threatens future of space travel according to NASA
              
The alerts from U.S. Strategic Command now arrive every couple of weeks - warnings that space junk is hurtling toward one of Canada's multi-million-dollar satellites.
The mathematical whizzes at the Canadian Space Agency assess the odds of their spacecraft being hit by the debris, much of it from missile tests, rocket launches and mid-orbit collisions. More often than not, they sit tight.

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Is your home insured against satellite impact?

News that a satellite the size of a double-decker bus is about to crash to earth shouldn't be of great concern - by the time it has broken up in the atmosphere only fragments are likely to reach the surface.
But the fragments could land anywhere and in the unlikely event of a piece striking a house in the UK, home insurance would cover the damage, according to AA Insurance.

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Ed ~ Remember,  insurance is just another form of gambling



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Russian colonel to be tried for space debris fraud

A Russian colonel entrusted with clearing up debris from space rocket launches is to be tried for fraud worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Col Konstantin Petrishchev was responsible for scrapping debris in the far north of Russia for four years, and contracted the work to private firms.

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Orbital debris
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Orbital debris is the technical term for the man made junk scattered in the space around the earth. Earth's gravity traps these man made objects and particles into orbiting (revolving) around it. NASA estimates that the half century of space exploration has cluttered the space above the earth's atmosphere with millions of detectable objects. Starting from dead satellite the list includes spent parts of rockets and other particles which are released during the flight of any spacecraft. The agency estimates that about 19,000 of these objects are larger than 10cm and another 500,000 particles are between 1 to 10 cm in diameter. Apart from these there are over millions of particles which are smaller than 1 cm. The US Space Surveillance network which tracks this junk has recently reported a significant increase in the past 5 years.
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Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft:
An Assessment of NASA's Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programs

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