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Space debris

collection of defunct objects in orbit
Space debris around Earth from a top-down view. The cloud of objects in the center are objects in low Earth orbit, and the ring on the edge is objects in geostationary orbit.

Space debris is the collection of useless objects that are in orbit around Earth, for example broken satellites, empty rocket stages, pieces of metal, and many more. Because of how much space debris there is, collisions happen between space debris and sometimes even operational spacecraft, creating more debris.

Since the start of space programs and the launch of Sputnik 1, NORAD has an active list of all known space launches and objects that are in Earth orbit, including waste parts, for example booster rockets. This is the Space Object Catalog.

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