The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Space Junk:
Accidents Waiting to Happen

Aug 30, 2021

A tank broke off from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and flew around the earth in late March. The increasing numbers of disused satellites and rocket parts in orbit and cluttering space near earth pose a rising danger to spacecraft and astronauts.

The U.S. government says there are now around 23,000 such objects larger than a softball, half a million the size of a marble, and 100 million a millimeter in size. Even almost invisible paint flecks can cause crippling damage when they hit something because they orbit at great speed: 17,500 miles per hour, which is 10 times faster than a bullet.

When two objects collide, they shatter into many more pieces and compound the problem. The International Space Station has had to fire its rockets in a hurry to avoid space junk 29 times in two decades, including three times last year. The news rushes to avoid covering it!

There is no easy or cheap method to clean up space junk. Every government and company gets away with polluting space with debris from its rockets and satellites. As usual, the warnings of experts land on deaf ears … ears that don’t budget for cleaning up space.