Group Warns of Space Debris Problems

NEW YORK, July 13 (UPI) — The problem of space debris and its possible dangers must be addressed by all nations of the world, an international foundation has told the United Nations.

The Secure World Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to space sustainability, told the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space that developing a legal framework and protocol to address this problem is vital, reported Tuesday.

“In order to keep the ability to work in space, we need to reduce as much as possible the amount of debris that we put in orbit,” Secure World Foundation Executive Director Ray Williamson said.

A collision between an American communications satellite and a defunct Soviet spacecraft in 2009 added more than a thousand pieces of trackable debris to orbit, Williams said, and illustrated the seriousness of the problem.

The collision illustrated the necessity of creating programs to reduce junk in space and keep track of existing debris to avoid further accidents, Williamson said.

But there must be international agreements on protocol first, he said.

“The U.S. wouldn’t like it a bit if China were to take out an old U.S. satellite and bring it back,” Williamson said. “And they wouldn’t like it if we took one of theirs and brought it back. We need to work on protocol. This makes things very complicated.”

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