Glossary term: Space Debris

Description: Space debris or space junk is the term for artificial objects, or the remnants of such objects, which orbit Earth but serve no useful function. Examples are decommissioned or faulty satellites, broken pieces resulting from the collision of satellites, or upper stages of rockets that were used in the launch of spacecraft or satellites and discarded after having fulfilled their purpose. The more space debris there is, the greater the chance of damaging collisions as a serious hazard for spacecraft. In consequence, space agencies are discussing, and have begun to test, ways of removing space debris, and are making an effort to plan missions so that objects that have fulfilled their purpose are made to re-enter, and burn up in, Earth's atmosphere.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition have been approved by a research astronomer and a teacher

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".