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The biggest-sized junkyard in the world orbits it, and a University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) aerospace systems engineering graduate student says it's time to get active about reducing the debris field before we reach a tipping point beyond which we may not be able to do much.

 

"Debris is the hot topic that nobody wants to touch," says Tom Percy. Percy is the primary author with his advisor, UAH Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering professor Dr. D. Brian Landrum, of a paper that outlines methods and policies that could be employed to mitigate space debris.

"I saw a need in the space community, with my systems engineering background, to walk people through the thought processes of how you apply a systems engineering approach to policy questions," Percy says. "How do we bring the discussion to a subset of solutions we can ultimately implement?"

In early April, according to news reports, the International Space Station (ISS) had to change position to avoid a space debris field of parts from an old Ariane 5 rocket launched by the European Space Agency that came within 1,000 feet of the station. It was the second time in three weeks ISS had to sidestep space junk.

Everything that gets shot into low Earth orbits eventually becomes junk -- even, one day, ISS itself. It's just a matter of time.

he biggest-sized junkyard in the world orbits it, and a University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) aerospace systems engineering graduate student says it's time to get active about reducing the debris field before we reach a tipping point beyond which we may not be able to do much.

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