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  • Japan to Track Dangerous Space Junk Orbiting Earth

    Japan to Track Dangerous Space Junk Orbiting Earth

    Taking measure to track dangerous space junk orbiting Earth, Japan plans to create a military space force that would be used to track dangerous objects that could do harm to functional satellites and other assets in space.

    Japanese officials plan on launching the system, which includes radar and telescope operations, by 2019.

    Space debris, also known as orbital debris, space junk, and space waste, is the collection of defunct objects in orbit around Earth. This includes everything from spent rocket stages, old satellites, fragments from disintegration, erosion, and collisions. Since orbits overlap with new spacecraft, debris may collide with operational spacecraft.
    As of 2009, about 19,000 pieces of debris larger than 5 cm (2.0 in) are tracked, with another 300,000 pieces smaller than 1 cm below 200 km altitude. For comparison, the International Space Station orbits in the 300400 km range and both the 2009 collision and 2007 antisat test events occurred at between 800 and 900 km.

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