As orbit becomes more crowded, risk from space debris grows
April 21, 2017
BERLIN (AP) — Decades' worth of man-made junk is cluttering up Earth's orbit, posing a threat to spaceflight and the satellites we rely on for weather reports, air travel and global communications.
More than 750,000 fragments larger than a centimeter are already thought to orbit Earth, and each one could badly damage or even destroy a satellite.
Last year, a tiny piece of debris punched a gaping hole in the solar panel of Copernicus Sentinel-1A, an observation satellite operated by the European Space Agency, or ESA. A solar array brought back from the Hubble Telescope in 1993 showed hundr...