What is Space Debris?
Space debris (noun) | ‘spās də-’brē | plural space debris
“Any man-made object in orbit about the Earth which no longer serves a useful purpose” - NASA
Also known as orbital debris or colloquially “space junk,” these objects can be pieces of spacecraft, decommissioned satellites, rocket upper stages, lost astronaut equipment, and other materials as small as flecks of paint. Before large-scale human activity in space, orbital debris broadly referred to miscellaneous pieces of asteroids, comets, and other celestial bodies in the solar system. This definition changed when NASA opened their Orbital Debris Program Office in 1979.