Space Debris and Junk: Causes Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2293 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Astronomy


[. . .] However, this policy is still limiting to the efforts of solving the space debris problem, since most of the massive junk in space were contributed by government programs. This policy is only applicable to commercial companies, and does not put the responsibility of the space debris and junk problem to the government and space agencies concerned.

The Lund Remote Sensing Commercialization Act of 1984 is formulated to demand "licensed entities must dispose of any satellites in space when the license terminates, and disposal must be made" (Orbiting Debris 1990). This policy covers all entities that are involved in launching satellites and spacecrafts, as well as conducting space programs and explorations in space. These policies summarize the legal measures taken by governments in order to ensure that the increasing number of space junk and debris in space will be prevented.


This research study discussed the nature, causes and effects, and the technological and legal solutions to the increasing problem of the presence of space debris and junk in space. By relating the problem of space debris in a memorable current event, and discussing the possible causes and effects of this problem, this research will inform the readers about the possible dangers that future space explorations might face if this problem will be left unsolved. Also, a discussion of technological and legal solutions provide an implication that the problem o space debris are taken seriously by government and astronomical agencies because of the prevalence of mishaps and accidents that have been happening/occurring in space.



Discussion of Issues Related to the Space Debris Problem

Significance of the Research

What are Space Debris?

Definition of Space Debris and Junk

Differences between Space Debris and Junk

Effects and Threats of the Space Debris and Junk Problem

Effects on Space Exploration of Space Junk

Effects on Space Exploration of Space Debris

Technological Aspects of Solving the Space Debris and Junk Problem

Mir Environmental Effects Payload (MEEP)

Deorbiting of Space Debris in Space

Legal Aspects of Solving the Space Debris and Junk Problem

Law of Salvage

The Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984

The Lund Remote Sensing Commercialization Act of 1984


Annotated Bibliography

Bekey, I. May 1997. "Orion's Laser: Hunting Space Debris." Aerospace America, Vol 35, No 5, pp 38-44. Also downloadable at

This journal article discusses the technological solution to the problem of space debris and junk, which is through laser technology, and focuses on the research study named "Orion," which discusses the implications of this study.

Collins, P. 1992. "Implications of Reduced Launch Costs for Commercial Space Law," in Legal Aspects of Space Commercialization, editor K. Tatsuzawa, CSP Japan, pp 13949. Also downloadable at

Another journal article, this paper focuses on the legal measures made by the government in order to ensure that space explorations and programs will not contribute to the worsening problem of space debris and junk accumulation and high population in space.

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems. "Orbital Debris." Washington: National Academy Press. 1995.

This book about space debris provides an insightful look into how space debris can be hazardous not only to spacecrafts, satellites, and space apparatuses, but also to the Earth's surface. This danger becomes apparent when space debris becomes highly-populated in the low Earth orbit region.

Kluger, J. "What Went Wrong?" 10 February 2003. TIME Magazine.

This is an online article that reports on the Columbia mishap that happened last February 1, 2003. Discusses in detail the technical aspects that may have caused the mishap.

Oliwenstein, L. "Looking for Trash." In Discovery Magazine, July 1992. Microsoft Encarta 2002. Microsoft Inc. 1998.

This is an article in Discovery Magazine that was adapted by Microsoft Encarta, and the article discusses the long-time problem of space debris and junk, which is addressed as an environmental problem not only on space, but on Earth as well.

Orbiting Debris: A Space Environmental Problem." Princeton University Web site. 10 April 2003

This is an excerpt from a journal article (in PDF form) from Princeton University, that discusses the regulations implemented by the government to prevent commercial space programs and exploration such as satellite launches from adding to the problem of space debris and junk.

Watson, C. "Understanding the Effects of Space Debris in Space Station Materials." March 1996. NASA News Web site. 10 April 2003

An online article by the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) that discusses the MEEP program of the space shuttle Mir.

Phucas, K. "Impact of Space Debris." 23 February 2003. TIMES Herald News Online. 10 April 2003

This is an online article that reports on the Columbia mishap that happened last February 1, 2003. [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

Space Debris and Junk: Causes.  (2003, April 13).  Retrieved December 9, 2018, from

MLA Format

"Space Debris and Junk: Causes."  13 April 2003.  Web.  9 December 2018. <>.

Chicago Format

"Space Debris and Junk: Causes."  April 13, 2003.  Accessed December 9, 2018.