Skip to main content

Photos: Space Debris Images & Cleanup Concepts

China's Anti-Satellite Test: Worrisome Debris Cloud Circles Earth

Federation of American Scientists.

Wipe out in the heavens: In 2007, China destroyed one of its own – an aging Fengyun-1C weather satellite – via an anti-satellite test.

China Anti-Satellite Debris Paths

NASA Orbital Debris Program Office

Known orbit planes of Fengyun-1C debris one month after its 2007 disintegration by a Chinese anti-satellite (ASAT) interceptor. The white orbit represents the International Space Station.

Space Junk Mess Getting Messier in Orbit

ESA

The European Space Agency’s Envisat was nearly on the receiving end of a spent Chinese rocket stage. The huge Enivisat satellite is expected to be a space debris target for many years to come.

Cosmonauts See Space Station Debris

NASA TV.

An unidentified object - potentially a cable attachment fixture - floats away from two Russian cosmonauts conducting a spacewalk July 27 outside the International Space Station. Full Story.

Space Debris Levels

ESA

This computer illustration depicts the density of space junk around Earth in low-Earth orbit.

Space Debris Tracker

European Space Agency

An artist's illustration of a satellite collision from space debris in orbit. Space traffic accidents only beget more such accidents.

Space Junk: U.S. Military's USA-193

John Locker.

UK satellite sleuth, John Locker, took this image of the classified USA-193, subsequently destroyed by a ship-to-space missile interceptor in Feb. 2008.

Satellite's Gone

IfA/Rob Ratkowski

Debris from the shot-down spy satellite USA 193 was visible from Maui, Hawaii after the satellite was destroyed while falling to Earth in Feb. 2008. The U.S. military shot the satellite down with a surface missile.

DARPA's Space Surveillance Telescope Artist's Conception

DARPA

An artist's illustration of DARPA's Space Surveillance Telescope to monitor space junk, micrometeoroids and nanosatellties that could endanger U.S. military satellites in orbit.

Scientists Eager to See European Spacecraft's Death Dive

ESA/D.Ducros.

An artist's illustration of ESA's Jules Verne ATV breaking up during its Sept. 29, 2008 reentry.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.