EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / R. PALMARI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / R. PALMARI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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ESA Space Debris Facility. Analysts at work in the space debris facility located at the European Space Agency (ESA)'s mission control centre (ESOC, European Space Operations Centre), Darmstadt, Germany. Space debris ranges from the remains of failed launches to defunct satellites and unsecured tools that drifted away from orbiting spacecraft. If it is in a stable orbit, the debris will be a constant hazard to spacecraft and satellites. Even a small object can cause a great deal of damage at the high speeds of Earth orbits. The launch of more and more satellites has led to near-Earth space becoming increasingly crowded. Each impact spreads more debris into a growing shell surrounding the Earth. ESOC has hosted a series of European conferences on the subject of space debris (posters seen on the wall). Photographed in April 2017.
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