Chinese anti-satellite space junk count hits 3,000

NASA says space debris from the Chinese the Fengyun-1C spacecraft anti-satellite test poses distict hazards to other satellites

space junk
Three years after the Chinese government blew one of its satellites in space with a missile the debris from that explosion continues to grow. 

NASA' s Orbital Debris Program Office this week said the number of debris officially cataloged from the 2007 Chinese the Fengyun-1C spacecraft anti-satellite test has now surpassed 3000. By mid-September 2010, the tally had reached 3037, of which 97% remained in Earth orbit, posing distinct hazards to hundreds of operational satellites, the office stated.

The debris from the Fengyun-1C spacecraft represents 22% of all cataloged objects passing through low Earth orbit or below 2000 km.

NASA' s Orbital Debris Program Office this summer said that while over 4,700 space missions have taken place worldwide since the 1960s, only 10 missions account for one-third of all cataloged objects currently in Earth orbit and of that, six of these 10 debris producing events occurred within the past 10 years. Debris from China the US and former Soviet Union spacecraft make up majority of junk floating in space. Approximately 19,000 objects larger than 10 cm are known to exist, NASA stated.

According to NASA the Top 10 space junk producing missions are:

Name           Year of Breakup     Debris items (as of July 2010) 

Fengyun-1C   2007                       2,841  

Cosmos 2251 2009                       1,267

STEP 2          1996                        713

Iridium 33      2009                        521

Cosmos 2421 2008                      509

SPOT 1          1986                     492 

OV2-1/LCS     1965                     473

Nimbus 4        1970                     374

TES                 2001                    370

CBERS 1          2000                    343

In September the Air Force sent up its Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite to monitor space junk.

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