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Old July 7 2013, 08:14 PM   #4
Metryq
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Re: Satellites in Space

I'll assume that "dysfunctional" satellites are all or mostly useless. ("There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.")

As for the size of the circles—is that number of satellites, or tonnage? The US, Russia and China appear to have launched about the same amount. Of that, Russia has the most big junk cruising around, and China has the most small debris. (And the US has the most active satellites.)

Whether active or not, all that stuff is a potential problem for other ships, especially manned ones. I'm reminded of:

* The UFO episode "Conflict!" where Straker is pushing for the clearance of all space junk because it is a hazard for SHADO's regular flights to Moonbase, and it is potential camouflage for alien ships.

* The Pixar film WALL*E showed so much junk in orbit that Earth is surrounded by a brown haze, like Los Angeles smog from the '70s. (Including Sputnik 1 or 2, which actually deorbited in only a matter of weeks after launch.)
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