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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Space Debris

Christos Kypraios, Elena Carpanelli

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 15 May 2021

Subject(s):
Spacecraft, satellites, and space objects — Pollution

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1One of the direct consequences of human activities in outer space is the creation of space debris. In the most general terms, these pieces of debris are uncontrollable man-made objects in the Earth’s orbit, including satellites that are no longer functional; mission related objects, such as tools lost by astronauts during extravehicular activities; and the result of satellite fragmentation events, which can be either accidental—such as in the case of non-deliberate in-orbit collisions—or intentional—such as in the case of anti-satellite weapons tests or...
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