Just a few weeks ago, on October 16th, a Russian Briz-M rocket failed and exploded while in orbit. While no one was on board and thus there were no casualties, the explosion of the rocket does present a problem as well as bringing to light a concern for organizations seeking to further the progress of space travel. That problem is the growing cloud of space debris that is cluttering the orbit of the planet Earth.
Just one rocket left more than 500 fragments of itself floating around the planet. While some of these may harmlessly pass into the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up upon reentry, most of the pieces will simply continue to circle. Since they are moving at such a high speed, they are potential threats to not only the International Space Station, but any satellite or future space mission that has to fly through them. One small piece, moving at high velocity, can cause major damage to the complicated machinery of space craft.