space debris

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Space Telescope Hit by 'Unavoidable Chance Event'

NASA says it's still performing above expectations after micrometeoroid strike

(Newser) - The massive mirror on the James Webb Space Telescope has been hit by what NASA calls an "unavoidable chance event"—a strike from a piece of space debris larger than they expected. NASA says one of the mirror's segments was hit by a micrometeoroid, which it defines...

China: Rocket Set to Crash Into Moon Isn't Ours

Experts disagree, say Chang'e-5T1 booster will make impact March 4

(Newser) - China is denying responsibility for a wayward rocket expected to crash into the far side of the moon next month. Though the rocket was initially misidentified as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that failed to return to Earth after launching a weather satellite in 2015, experts— including those at NASA'...

Russia Confirms Space Test, NASA Calls It 'Unconscionable'

Moscow confirms it blew up a satellite, resulting in space debris

(Newser) - Update: Russia has confirmed that it blew up an old satellite in space with a ground-based missile in a test of new technology. NASA issued a scathing condemnation of the test, saying it generated a dangerous amount of space debris, reports NBC News . NASA Administrator Bill Nelson called it "...

China's Rocket Debris Set for Uncontrolled Re-Entry

21-ton Long March rocket core will crash at an unknown location within days

(Newser) - Last week's launch of the Tianhe space station module was a great leap forward for China's space program—but the Long March 5B rocket used for the launch could cause some major problems back on Earth. The 21-ton core of the rocket is now orbiting Earth and slowly...

SpaceX Retrieves Piece of Debris a Farmer Discovered

It left a nearly 4-inch dent in the ground

(Newser) - A piece of burning rocket debris seen streaking across the Pacific Northwest sky last week crashed on a farm in eastern Washington state, authorities said. After the March 25 event, a farmer discovered a nearly intact piece of rocket in a private field, the Tri-City Herald reported. The approximately 5-foot...

On the Horizon: a Satellite Made of Wood?

Japan hopes project will cut down on space debris

(Newser) - When satellites burn up in the atmosphere, they don't entirely disappear. Tiny pieces of aluminium remain, contributing to an increasing mass of space junk. According to Daniel Oltrogge, director at the Center for Space Standards and Innovation, there are an estimated 760,000 objects larger than a centimeter (0....

The ISS' End Will Be Fiery, but Not Fiery Enough
Is Doomed
to Die by Fire
in case you missed it

The ISS Is Doomed to Die by Fire

A look at how the International Space Station could come to its end

(Newser) - Monday marked two decades of humans occupying the International Space Station, but whether it'll make it to the end of its third decade remains unclear. explains that to stay in orbit, the ISS relies on fuel injections from the cargo ships that visit it. Such visits have...

A Huge Piece of Space Debris Falls to Earth Uncontrolled

Fortunately, it landed in the ocean

(Newser) - For a few hours Monday, a nearly 20-ton piece of space debris fell uncontrolled from the sky, passing over Los Angeles and New York City and causing a bit of stress for the experts tracking it before it safely splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean. "The problem is that...

Defunct Space Station Due to Fall to Earth This Weekend

Tiangong-1 is believed to be out of control

(Newser) - China's defunct and reportedly out-of-control Tiangong 1 space station is expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere sometime this weekend. It poses only a slight risk to people and property on the ground, since most of the bus-size, 8.5-ton vehicle is expected to burn up on re-entry, although space...

New Prediction for When, Where Space Station Will Crash

Experts say there isn't anything to worry about ... probably

(Newser) - A 9.6-ton Chinese space station will likely crash somewhere on Earth around March, according to a new prediction made Wednesday by Aerospace. And while that sounds terrifying, a member of the team behind the prediction tells the New York Times the Tiangong-1 "most probably will not harm anyone,...

Space Station Shield Lost During Spacewalk

US astronauts 'MacGyvered' a solution

(Newser) - In space, nobody can hear you scream, "Oh no, there goes the shielding"—apart from Mission Control. American astronauts Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough suffered a frustrating setback during a spacewalk Thursday when one of the four fabric shields they were installing on the exterior of the International...

Adopt a Piece of Space Junk, Get Its Tweets as It Flies By

Nearly 30K objects larger than 10cm are currently in orbit

(Newser) - The jury may be out on intelligent extraterrestrial life, but this we know: We are not alone. At least, we are surrounded by our own junk. In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of the hundreds of millions of pieces of debris currently orbiting planet Earth, an interactive...

Video Reveals How Fast We've Amassed Space Junk

In just 60 years, Earth has become surrounded by 500K pieces of debris

(Newser) - More than 500,000 known objects are orbiting planet Earth, and around 20,000 of them are at least as big as a softball, reports NASA . Now a University College London professor has used data from to create a video to help us visualize how quickly that space...

ISS Astronauts Flee Flying Russian Space Debris

It was too late to do 'evasive maneuver' by the time they got word from NASA

(Newser) - American astronaut Scott Kelly and two Russian cosmonauts shacked up at the International Space Station had to scurry out of the way of flying space debris after a chunk of a Russian weather satellite sped by earlier today, AFP reports. The men hurried into the Soyuz spacecraft, which ferries them...

Ecuador's Very First Satellite Has Very Bad Luck

3-pound cube satellite hits space debris, might be kaput after just a month

(Newser) - Ecuador's space agency achieved a big milestone a month ago when it launched its first-ever satellite into space. Little Pegasus, a cube-shaped device weighing less than 3 pounds, had been happily transmitting photos and playing the Ecuadorean national anthem in orbit ever since—until it apparently smashed into the...

So Where Did Satellite Land? NASA May Never Know

Need more exact data to pinpoint where UARS and debris hit the Earth

(Newser) - NASA's just-crashed UARS satellite may have been the size of a bus and weighed 6 tons, but, because of its speed and uncertainty about the exact time it hit the Earth, scientists say they don't know exactly where their space junk crashed, reports the Chicago Tribune . "We...

Space Junk Passes 'Tipping Point'

Report urges NASA to ramp up efforts quickly

(Newser) - Astronauts on the International Space Station had a close call with space debris in June, and things are only going to get worse from here on out, warns a new report. In fact, the amount of junk orbiting earth has now passed the "tipping point," says the National...

'Space Fence' to Track Cosmic Junk

Near misses underscore need for new system

(Newser) - As the space shuttle program draws to a close, engineers are focusing on a less glamorous phenomenon of the space age: cosmic junk. The US Air Force is working on a $3.5 billion "Space Fence" scanner to track the estimated 500,000 pieces of space debris bigger than...

International Space Station: Crew Boards Escape Pods Because of Space Debris
 ISS Crew Dodges Space Debris 

ISS Crew Dodges Space Debris

Six international astronauts sent into pods for safety

(Newser) - Russian Mission Control says the International Space Station's crew has briefly taken seats in escape capsules due to a close encounter with space debris. The six crewmen spent about half an hour today in two Soyuz escape capsules docked at the station before the space junk passed by without...

Solar Sail to Clean Up Space Junk

'CubeSail' designed to drag orbiting debris to fiery reentry

(Newser) - British scientists have devised a way to get rid of some of the 5,000-plus tons of space trash orbiting the earth and endangering satellites and astronauts. The team's CubeSail—a plastic sail utilizing high atmospheric gases and solar radiation—is designed to drag dead rockets and satellites out of...

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