14 November 2012
United Nations Office on Outer Space Affairs
UNOOSA - Sweden
A. Background of Topic
1. Space junk, also known space debris and space waste, is the collection of objects in orbit around Earth that were created by humans but no longer serve any useful purpose, which can consist of everything from old dead satellites to explosion and collision fragments. These objects often overlap the trajectory of new space shuttles or satellites, which can cause a potential collision risk, damaging the equipment. Space junk presents a threat not only to space affairs, but also to matters here on earth; although most debris will burn up in the atmosphere, larger objects can reach the ground intact and present a risk. The ISS has had to repair numerous satellites and spaceships orbiting the earth due to the damage caused by space junk, causing them millions. Though the UNOOSA has published guidelines for nations to follow in hopes to reduce the amount of space junk, the UN still has many issues that need to be discussed and covered due to this growing problem. 2. Nations that are directly involved and affected by this issue include the USA, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the UK, and others. 3. According to the U.S. military's Space Surveillance Network, there are roughly 22,000 pieces of orbital debris larger than 4 inches currently in the outlying atmosphere, which include broken satellite parts and depleted rocket bodies. As these fragments travel through space, they pose collision risks to the ISS and the roughly 1,000 working satellites in orbit. Many incidents have already occurred, such as in February 2009, a U.S satellite was struck by a non-operational Russian satellite. The impact destroyed the two spacecraft and created large clouds of dust and debris. “If we continue, as we have, to use these very popular orbits in near-Earth space, the density of...