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Space debris

Space debris or orbital debris, also called space junk and space waste, are the objects in orbit around Earth created by man that no longer serve any useful purpose.

They consist of everything from entire spent rocket stages and defunct satellites to explosion fragments, paint flakes, dust and slag from solid rocket motors, coolant released by RORSAT nuclear powered satellites, and other small particles.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Space debris", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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November 26, 2015

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updated 12:56 pm ET