Space Junk Is Colliding With Itself, Creating More Space Junk

A view of Eart from space with a satellite in the foreground.
Credit: NASA

The European Space Agency (ESA) has revealed that a space debris removal mission’s target, a piece of debris called VESPA, was hit by a small unidentified object. This collision resulted in the release of new fragments, adding to the growing problem of space junk in orbit.

The struck object, VESPA, had been in space for a decade and was intended to be removed by a cleanup mission in 2026. The ESA had invested in the cleanup company ClearSpace for this purpose. The incident highlights the importance of space cleanup efforts to prevent the proliferation of space debris, which poses a significant risk to active satellites.

While the newly created fragments are considered to have a low collision risk, the incident underscores the need to address the issue of existing and future space debris.

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