How much space junk is there in orbit around the Earth?



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    Space junk is also known as orbital debris. Orbital debris are man-made things that end up in space. The debris end up in space as a result of spacecraft take-offs. The debris are intentionally released into space during the seperation of the spacecraft and the launch vehicle and during mission operations. Debris are also a result of explosions, satellite collisions and explosions, effluents, thermal stress, and small particle impacts.

    There are approximately one million debris that are smaller than 1 cm,  appriximately 21,000 orbital debris that are larger than 10 cm, and about 500,000 debris that are larger than 10 cm. Most of the debris are destroyed by the intense heat during re-entry, the ones that do survive usually fall into oceans and low populated areas like the Australian outback, Canadian Tundar and Siberia. The re-entry of these particles in the past 50 years have caused no serious injuries or serious property damage.

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