intellitech sends this excerpt from a Reuters report: "The amount of debris orbiting the Earth has reached a tipping point for collisions, which would in turn generate more of the debris that threatens astronauts and satellites, according to a U.S. study released on Thursday (PDF). ... The amount of orbital debris tracked by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network jumped from 9,949 cataloged objects in December 2006 to 16,094 in July 2011, with nearly 20 percent of the objects stemming from the destruction of the Chinese FENGYUN 1-C satellite, the National Research Council said. ... the panel made two dozen recommendations for NASA to mitigate and improve the orbital debris environment, including collaborating with the State Department to develop the legal and regulatory framework for removing junk from space. The study, 'Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft: An Assessment of NASA's Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programs,' was sponsored by NASA."
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