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Accession Number ADA592886
Title Threats to U.S. National Security Interests in Space: Orbital Debris Mitigation and Removal.
Publication Date Jan 2014
Media Count 17p
Personal Author A. Arnold S. A. Hildreth
Abstract After decades of activities in space, Earth s orbit is littered with man-made objects that no longer serve a useful purpose. This includes roughly 22,000 objects larger than the size of a softball and hundreds of thousands of smaller fragments. This population of space debris potentially threatens U.S. national security interests in space, both governmental (military, intelligence, and civil) and commercial. Congress has broadly supported the full-range of these national security interests and has a vested concern in ensuring a strong and continued U.S. presence in space. Two events in recent years dramatically increased the amount of fragmentation debris in orbit. One was the 2007 Chinese anti-satellite test and, in 2009, an active U.S. commercial satellite accidentally collided with a defunct Russian satellite. Although the 2013 movie Gravity exaggerated the issue and took certain artistic liberties, the film graphically depicted and drew the public s attention to the potential destruction of operational satellites and other platforms in space from collisions with orbital debris. Some experts maintain the population growth of debris in space will be primarily driven by catastrophic collisions that are likely to occur every five to nine years.
Keywords Artificial satellites
National security
Spacecraft debris

Source Agency Non Paid ADAS
NTIS Subject Category 74F - Military Intelligence
Corporate Author Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC.
Document Type Technical report
Title Note Congressional rept.
NTIS Issue Number 1412
Contract Number N/A

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