US joins fight against debris orbiting Earth

 

Irene Klotz
Thursday 19 January 2012 11:00
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This undated artist rendering provided by EADS Astrium shows the satellite ROSAT.
This undated artist rendering provided by EADS Astrium shows the satellite ROSAT.

The United States will join with Europe and other nations to hammer out a code of conduct for space activities, including how to deal with the growing problem of debris circling Earth.

"Unless the international community addresses these challenges, the environment around our planet will become increasingly hazardous to human spaceflight and satellite systems, which would create damaging consequences for all of us," US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said in a statement.

The announcement followed reports that the US would not sign an EU draft of an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities because it impinged on the military's use of space.

Among the most pressing problem in space is orbital debris, an issue that gained considerable attention after China launched a missile to destroy one of its defunct weather satellites in 2007, but instead added hundreds of pieces of debris to the junk cloud.

There are more than 10,000 objects orbiting Earth, including spent rocket bodies, decommissioned satellites and spacecraft fragments. REUTERS

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