Photos: Space Debris Images & Cleanup Concepts

Blaze of Glory


A photo of ESA's Jules Verne ATV cargo ship as it burns up in Earth's atmosphere to end its mission on Jan. 29, 2008.

Unidentified Object That Buzzed Earth is Space Junk, Not Asteroid, NASA Says


This NASA graphic shows the trajectory of near-Earth object 2010 KQ, which scientists have concluded is likely a rocket remnant and not an asteroid, in May and June 2010. Full Story.

space junk laser diagram

J. Mason et al., arXiv

A look at how a ground-based laser could nudge space junk clear of any satellites to avoid damaging spacecraft in orbit.

EDDE Orbital Debris Removal Spacecraft

Star Technology and Research/Jerome Pearson

A diagram of the ElectroDynamic Debris Eliminator (EDDE) concept spacecraft, which is designed to remove space junk from low-Earth orbit.

Air Force to Launch Satellite to Track Space Junk


The first Space-Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) satellite will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sept. 25, 2010. The satellite is designed to detect and monitor debris, spacecraft or other distant space objects.

Artist's illustration of February 2009 Satellite Crash

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

On Feb. 10, 2009, a defunct Russian satellite, right, and a privately owned American communications satellite, left, collided near the North Pole, producing clouds of debris that quickly joined the orbital parade of clutter, increasing the possibility of future accidents.

USAF Gen. William Shelton

US Air Force Photo/Duncan Wood

U.S. General William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, underscored the worrisome issue of orbital debris during a presentation at the National Space Symposium on April 12, 2011.

Orbital Overload: Space Debris Crowds the Not-So-Friendly Skies

NASA/The Orbital Debris Quarterly News

Catalogue of orbital debris. Image

Out There: Space Traffic Control System Needed


This computer-generated image depicts a vantage point above the Earth's north pole, showing the concentrations of objects in low Earth orbit and in the geosynchronous region.

History-making Japanese Space Mission Ends in Flames


Artist's concept of the Japan's intentional destruction of its first H-2 Transfer Vehicle, a disposable unmanned cargo ship that is purposely burned up during re-entry for disposal.

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