Fr.: débris spatial
Man-made objects in orbit around the Earth that no longer serve any useful purpose. The estimated number of debris include about 22,000 tractable objects larger than 10 cm in all orbits, of which 2,200 are dead satellites and last stages of the rocket that put them in orbit. There are also left-overs from spacecraft and mission operations, such as bolts, lens caps, clamp bands, auxiliary motors, etc. The debris presents a threat because of their high speeds, which ranges between 15 and 20 km/sec. Also called space junk, space waste, orbital debris.