January 26, 2016

NASA’s Backing Fuels More Interest in Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser (Source: GeekWire)
NASA’s decision to use Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser mini-shuttle to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station marks the most positive development to date for a space program that’s been a decade in the making. The financial terms have yet to be nailed down, but Mark Sirangelo says there’s a general sense that a contract for at least six spaceflights should be worth at least a billion dollars, if not more. But that’s only the beginning.

“We’re getting more interest in the last couple of weeks than we’ve had before,” said Mark Sirangelo, Sierra Nevada’s corporate vice president of space systems. Sirangelo said two Dream Chaser space planes will be built for NASA’s use – and maybe not just for NASA. “We own the Dream Chasers. NASA is our priority client, so they would get priority use of the vehicle. However, when they’re not using them, and as long as it doesn’t interfere, we have the capability of using the same vehicles for other clients.”

Those clients could include other space agencies that want to pursue their own orbital research programs, with or without access to the space station. And the Dream Chaser’s basic design can be adapted to accommodate a crew rather than cargo. For now, Sierra Nevada is focusing on the cargo-only version, but Sirangelo said customers will eventually be able to choose from a wide range of Dream Chaser options. (1/26)

A Letter to the Washington Space Establishment (Source: Huffington Post)
In 2017 a new president will try to create their own Kennedy legacy by redefining space -- so you will freeze until then, polishing your animations and waiting for the shift. But this time it may surprise you. Why? Because the Next Space Age already started, will not freeze, and by the time new players get into office will be so obvious as to make pitching re-worked plans to re-create our past in the future seem ridiculous. Call it disruption or what you will -- by the end of this year, Washington will be facing a new space reality.

First, let's declare our shared goals. Last winter in Washington, with the Pioneering Space Declaration, leaders from industry, government and the community agreed economic development and settlement are the goals of our national human spaceflight program -- along with exploration. The next administration and congress must codify these goals.

Next, we must align plans and actions to goals. Government should support -- and benefits from -- economic development and settlement. The oft-used analogy of building highways and supporting infrastructure -- not driving the vehicles or the industry -- fits. (1/25)

Russian Warns of Space Junkyard War (Source: BRIC+)
Hundreds of thousands of pieces of debris floating around in Earth’s orbit, known as “Space junk”, could propel the world into serious conflict, Russian scientists have warned. “This stuff represents a “special political danger” and “may provoke political or even armed conflict between space-faring nations,” explains Vitaly Adushkin of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the journal Astra Astronautica. Click here. (1/25)

Space Wars: Will America and China Clash Over Resources? (Source: The National Interest)
The end of 2015 witnessed three seemingly unrelated developments: the establishment of a space hotline between Washington and Beijing, the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (Space Act), and the positive decision on jurisdiction by the arbitration court in Manila’s suit against Beijing concerning the South China Sea.

The hotline seeks to minimize incidents arising from satellite operations and ASAT tests, while the legislation could pave the way to private exploration and exploitation of natural resources, including asteroid mining. The court decision, however, means that China’s claims and activities in the South China Sea will come under the scrutiny of an international judiciary. The question is whether the current confrontation between China and the U.S. concerning the legal status of the South China Sea is a harbinger of things to come in the space commons. (1/25)

Faked Moon Landing Would Have Been Exposed Within Four Years (Source: Telegraph)
Major conspiracies theories, such as a faked Moon landing, would have been exposed within just a few years if they were really true, a scientist has concluded. Oxford University physicist Dr David Grimes worked out a mathematical way to calculate the chances of a plot being deliberately leaked by a whistle-blower or accidentally uncovered. He was able to show that the more people share in a conspiracy, the shorter its lifespan is likely to be. (1/26)

No Clear Direction From Pioneering Space Summit (Source: NASA Watch)
Well it has been a year. Nothing new about the Pioneering Space National Summit has emerged from Team Tumlinson that comes anywhere close to the national consensus or powerful alliance of space advocacy and industry groups that everyone thought would emerge. Something called the Alliance for Space Development (a re-tread of some other alliance) emerged with only small and fading organizations as members. It has done nothing.

The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration emerged, itself a refit version of an earlier industry effort (minus the word "Deep") emerged, led by Dittmar. This reboot is now focused solely on lobbying for SLS and Orion. The earlier incarnation, the Coalition for Space Exploration, actually did some useful things. However, it's "Deep" version does not seem to do anything except prompt Dittmar to retweet other people's tweets.

So here we are, a year later, with none of the coordinated space policy goodness that all of the space advocates promised one another. They - we - all sit on the cusp of yet another presidential election - yet once again no two space advocates can give you the same vision of what a good, broadly-supported space policy should be for America. (1/26)

Boeing Builds the Most Powerful Rocket Ever Made (Source: CNBC)
A giant metal frame standing several yards wide rises up nearly 200 feet inside the Michoud Assembly Facility, NASA's massive 832-acre space park outside New Orleans. "What you're looking at is the largest welding system in the world," said Jackie Nesselroad. She is leading a team from Boeing that's welding together the world's most powerful rocket, the Space Launch System. "It's about the coolest job on earth." Click here. (1/26)

The Race to Build Teeny Tiny Satellite Thrusters (Source: Motherboard)
As exciting as the populist Cubesat spaceflight movement is, there is still one major technological hurdle it has to clear before it will meet its full potential: Propulsion. CubeSats are extremely popular with both professionals and hobbyists, and hundreds of them have been launched since 2003. However, once they make it to space, CubeSats are usually dumped into low Earth orbit, and they have no onboard engine that could propel them towards more ambitious targets like the Moon or Mars.

They can’t even adjust course in the event of an incoming collision or a mission failure. Bereft of propulsion, they are at the mercy of the trajectory into which they were deployed. There’s a good reason for this locomotive deficit. In spaceflight, propulsion usually involves storing combustible materials at high pressures, and there’s always a risk that engines might leak or backfire. Considering that CubeSats are often launched in batches, the odds of accidents would be significantly multiplied if they were equipped with reactive engines.

But this limitation has turned out to be an opportunity in disguise for Lozano and his colleagues at the SPL. Over the last few years, they have been developing a miniaturized ion propulsion system for CubeSats that could endow the satellites with the power of motion while upholding the safety criteria. (1/26)

Why Early Risers Could Be Banned From Traveling to Mars (Source: Telegraph)
Early risers could be banned from travelling to Mars after scientists found they have the wrong internal clock for life on the Red Planet. New research has shown that circadian body clock which matches planet speed is essential for a healthy life and reproduction. A team of scientists studied animals in which variation in a single gene speeded up the natural circadian cycle from 24 to 20 hours.

It is the first study to demonstrate of the value of having an internal body clock which beats in tune with the speed of the earth’s rotation. The researchers released animals with 24 hour or 20 hour clocks into outdoor pens, with free access to food, and studied how the proportion of animals with fast clocks changed in the population over a period of 14 months.

The studies not only have important implications for health, demonstration the impact that a disrupted body clock can have, but could also impact space travel. The Martian day is 37 minutes longer than that on Earth so people whose body clock is running more quickly – early risers- are likely to struggle far more than owls, who are more suited to the slower rotation. (1/25)

NASA’s New Defense Role (Source: Post and Courier)
The Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) has a name straight out of a science fiction movie, but it’s about to be a very real part of NASA. Of course, NASA’s newest office — announced earlier this month — won’t be defending earth from alien invaders or galactic empires. Instead, the target is a threat as unlikely as it is potentially devastating: a catastrophic asteroid impact.

Shades of Dan Quayle, who urged a federal role for asteroid protection as vice president in 1990 — and was widely ridiculed for his trouble. According to NASA, the PDCO will “find and characterize asteroids and comets that pass near earth’s orbit around the sun” and “take a leading role in coordinating interagency and intergovernmental efforts in response to any potential impact threats.” (1/26)

Com Dev Shareholders Approve Sale to Honeywell (Source: Waterloo Region Record)
Com Dev International shareholders have overwhelmingly approved the company's proposed $455 million sale to Honeywell International. The plan, which would see U.S. aerospace and manufacturing giant Honeywell purchase the Cambridge-based space hardware manufacturer, received more than 99 percent support from shareholders who cast ballots. ExactEarth, a Com Dev subsidiary that provides satellite-based data on ship locations, will be spun off as a standalone, publicly-traded company as part of the deal. (1/25)

France Joins India's Mission to Mars (Source: NDTV)
France will play a role in India's next mission to Mars. The French space agency CNES signed a letter of intent with its Indian counterpart, ISRO, to participate in India's next Mars mission, an orbiter tentatively planned for 2020, although the agreement didn't offer details on CNES' role beyond providing expertise. CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall did suggest that, after the 2020 mission, the countries could cooperate on a Mars lander. (1/25)

Spaceport America Seeks Additional State Funds (Source: Albuquerque Journal)
Plans to seek additional funding for New Mexico's Spaceport America could be hampered by the falling price of oil. The spaceport is seeking an additional $2.35 million this year from the state to cover a gap between revenue and expenses as major customers, like Virgin Galactic, suffer delays in using the spaceport. A complicating factor is the decline in the price of oil, which accounts for an eighth of the state's revenue. Every one dollar drop in the price of oil cuts revenue for the state by $10 million. (1/25)

Georgia Rep. Files Spaceflight Act in Atlanta (Source: Rep. Spencer)
State Representative Jason Spencer has filed House Bill 734, the Georgia Spaceflight Act (GSA) during the second day of the 2016 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly. The bill would make Georgia more competitive with neighboring states in the space industry.

“The Georgia Spaceflight Act will enable the state of Georgia to compete with established great space states like Texas and Florida in order to attract and retain the commercial space industry,” said Rep. Spencer. “Over the past five years, Camden County, Georgia has been preparing for the day when we make history in the newly written chapters of the revitalized space race. That day is coming soon.”

The GSA is modeled after the Texas law, Limited Liability for Space Flight Activities, and defines procedures for spaceflight activity. The bill limits a willing spaceflight participant’s ability to sue for damages related to spaceflight activities for which the participant must give informed consent. In addition, the bill prevents spaceflight activities from being stopped through civil actions related to noise or nuisance complaints. (1/21)

How to Land a House on Mars (Source: Air & Space)
Last June, a new, 100-foot-diameter parachute that Manning and his colleague Ian Clark had every reason to believe would work underwent a second test—a deployment that ended in a confidence-bruising failure. The system is called the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, or LDSD, a two-stage Mars-landing solution that has been in the testing phase since 2012. One of the stages, the one that isn’t a parachute, has been performing flawlessly. They’re still working on the other one.

Baffled by the failures, Manning set off again with a renewed urgency to find that old Viking-era test film. This time, he found it. It turned out the man who won the film at the auction had donated it to the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, home to a state-of-the-art planetarium. When Manning called the museum to explain why he wanted the footage, the staff was happy to hand it over.

Manning and Clark hope their analysis of the old film—now being restored and converted to digital files at a Hollywood film restoration outfit—may help them understand why two different designs for their massive parachute, a key piece in NASA’s plans to one day colonize Mars, have shredded to ribbons during supersonic flight tests. (1/25)

UrtheCast Could Monitor Borders (Source: New York Times)
A company that operates remote sensing cameras on the ISS offered to use those cameras to monitor European borders. Records released by the European Commission show that UrtheCast proposed to use its two cameras on the Russian segment of the ISS to provide "an unprecedented capability for an integrated persistent space surveillance" for the European Union's border agency. The EU rejected the proposal, but some say it raises questions about whether such monitoring conflicts with the station's requirement to serve "peaceful purposes." (1/25)

Exoplanet Not an Orphan After All (Source: Discovery)
A lonely exoplanet may not be so alone after all. When astronomers first discovered the exoplanet 2MASS J2126 several years ago, it did not appear to be orbiting a star but instead was an "orphan planet" ejected from some other solar system. Astronomers now believe it is orbiting a red dwarf, albeit at a great distance: about one trillion kilometers, or more than 6,500 times the distance between the Earth and sun. Scientists said they're not sure why the planet is so far from its parent star. (1/25)

Russia to Launch 7 Satellites to Monitor Gas Industry Facilities Before 2025 (Source: Tass)
Russia may launch 7 Smotr-class satellites meant for prospecting gas fields and monitoring gas facilities before 2025, according to the 2016-2025 Federal Space Program. These satellites will be added to the Gazprom Space Company’s orbital group. The project will cost 93.5 billion roubles and will be financed from private sources. (1/26)

SpaceX Falcon 9 Upgrade Certified for National Security Space Launches (Source: SpaceRef)
Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space and Space and Missile Systems Center commander, updated the certified baseline configuration of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Launch System to the Falcon 9 Upgrade, for use in National Security Space (NSS) missions. The baseline configuration of the Falcon 9 Launch System was updated to Falcon 9 Upgrade on Jan. 25.

SpaceX is eligible for award of NSS launch missions, in accordance with the updated Certification Letter, as one of two currently certified launch providers. The partnership between SpaceX and the Air Force continues as they focus on SpaceX's newest vehicle configuration, Falcon 9 Upgrade. SpaceX and Air Force technical teams will jointly work to complete the tasks required to prepare SpaceX and the Falcon 9 Upgrade for NSS missions. (1/25)

Cute to “A Little Sinister”—the Beauty of US Spy Satellite Logo Patches (Source: Ars Technica)
When the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) launched an Atlas V ferrying a GEMSat classified payload in December 2013, the mission's logo set off a public firestorm of sorts. The mission logo, or patch, from the launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is of a giant, orange-ish-colored octopus sitting atop Earth. "Nothing Is Beyond Our Reach," read the logo for the NROL-39 mission.

The office of the Director of National Intelligence published a picture of the logo-patch on Twitter hours before launch, tweeting that the "Atlas 5 will blast off just past 11PM, PST carrying an classified NRO payload (also cubesats)." The launch came as the Guardian was publishing one leak after the other from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The leaks detailed that the US National Security Agency was, among other things, exercising digital domination across the world's fiber optic lines.

So a spy agency's cartoon depicting total world domination was an untimely public relations failure given the focus Snowden was bringing to the US surveillance state. As it turns out, other NRO launch logos (often painted directly on the space craft) typically depict a scene of scary world domination too. But that's not to say all of the patches present the US as the Evil Empire. Click here. (1/25)

NASA Counting on Humanoid Robots in Deep Space Exploration (Source: Space Daily)
As humanity moves forward with space exploration, we should prepare for risky and extremely hazardous endeavors such as manned missions to Mars and asteroids. Having fully operational robotic help ready to assist in every dangerous task would be of the utmost importance during long-lasting journeys beyond Earth. NASA is seriously considering this subject matter, ushering new humanoid robots, expected to be space pioneers that could offer astronauts a helping hand in future expeditions.

That's why the agency is developing a six-feet tall humanoid robot called R5, previously known as Valkyrie. The machine weighs about 290 lbs., and what's interesting, it was initially designed to complete disaster-relief maneuvers. In November 2015, NASA awarded two R5 robots to university groups competing in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge (DRC).

One robot is tested by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts under its Robust Autonomy for Extreme Space Environments program. The second one is available for the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts for its Accessible Testing on Humanoid-Robot-R5 and Evaluation of NASA Administered (ATHENA) Space Robotics Challenge. According to NASA, the teams have two years to perform research and software development in order to improve the robot's autonomy. (1/25)

The True Story of How Nazis Invented the Space Program (Source: Forward)
The importance of military support has been at the heart of modern rocket science since its beginnings. But even if the first rocket enthusiasts, Germany's Verein für Raumschiffahrt (Society for Space Travel), or VfR,   were amateurs who fantasized about taking weekend trips to the moon, the VfR was very quickly co-opted by the German military, whose leaders found rockets attractive because the Treaty of Versailles had not explicitly banned them.

Rockets received even more support from the Nazis. Although Hitler was initially lukewarm on the idea, SS leader Heinrich Himmler was enthusiastic and tried to poach the rocket program from the army. As the war turned against Germany, Hitler also warmed to rockets, seeing them as a potential miracle weapon. By the time the infamous V-2s were ready to fly, it was too late for Germany — the Allies had landed at Normandy and the Soviets were advancing on the East — but the Germans were able to do damage to Britain and Belgium nonetheless.

After the war, the technology behind the V-2s formed the basis of American rocket research and, eventually, of its space program. The same was true of the Soviet Union. It wasn’t just German hardware that informed American rocketry, however — it was also the scientists who built it. The most famous was Wernher von Braun who, at age 20, was the first VfR member to be recruited by the Germany military. Click here. (1/25)

Record Hot Years Near Impossible Without Manmade Climate Change (Source: Guardian)
The world’s run of record-breaking hottest years is extremely unlikely to have happened without the global warming caused by human activities, according to new calculations. Thirteen of the 15 hottest years in the 150-year-long record occurred between 2000-14 and the researchers found there is a just a 0.01% chance that this happened due to natural variations in the planet’s climate.

2015 was revealed to have smashed all earlier records on Wednesday, after the new study had been completed, meaning the odds that the record run of heat is a fluke are now even lower. “Natural climate variations just can’t explain the observed recent global heat records, but manmade global warming can,” said Prof Stefan Rahmstorf, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and one of the research team. (1/25)

The Race to Hypersonic Speed: Will Air Passengers Feel the Benefits? (Source: The Conversation)
When Concorde entered service 40 years ago, it more than doubled the speed of air travel at a stroke. Following Concorde’s retirement, airliners today fly once more at subsonic speeds, but engineers worldwide are looking to a future in which high-speed flight is an everyday occurrence. Except they want to go one better: not at supersonic, but hypersonic speeds.

Aerospace giant Airbus was last year awarded a patent that details how a future hypersonic aircraft, with delta wings reminiscent of Concorde, could travel at Mach 4.5 – fast enough to carry passengers between Paris and Tokyo in just three hours. But inevitably, technology that has reached the commercial realm will already have been investigated by the military. Click here. (1/25)

Radical ‘Antipode’ Concept Plane That Uses Rocket Boosters Revealed (Source: Daily Mail)
'I wanted to create an aircraft concept capable of reaching its antipode—or diametrical opposite—as fast as possible,' Bombardier told Forbes. The Canadian engineer from ImaginActiv captivated the world's imagination in October when he unveiled his Skreemr concept plane.

He envisaged the craft could be launched using a magnetic railgun system to catapult it into the sky at high speed reaching speeds of Mach 10. Using such a launch system, the jet would be positioned on a pair of conductive parallel rails and accelerated along them using a powerful electromagnetic field. Click here. (1/25)

Some of the Most Mars-Like Landscapes on Earth (Source: Tech Insider)
The sweeping, red-washed desert in Wadi Rum, Jordan, is eerily similar a Martian landscape. Which is exactly why director Ridley Scott filmed many scenes there for his movie "The Martian," that came out October 2. A convincing setting for the film is critical, since Mars is a character unto itself in the survivalist story.

But several other places on Earth bare striking similarities to Mars. Scientists are even using some of these places to investigate how, some day, humans might survive on the real planet. Click here. (9/30/15)

Forget Blue Origin vs. SpaceX—the Real Battle is Between Old and New Ideas (Source: Aviation Week)
Friday’s launch of the New Shepard rocket in West Texas renewed the tired debate about whether Blue Origin or SpaceX has achieved more in the reusable spaceflight game. Ultimately the debate is vacuous and completely misses the big picture. There is no “better.”

Both companies are kicking ass. I think a lot of people who read this probably share a common goal with me: we’d like to see wider access to space. We’d like to see colonization of the Moon, or maybe Mars, or maybe beyond. We’d like to see a highway to the stars. There is only one way this happens: dramatically reducing the cost of getting into space. And the way to do this is by reusing your rockets and spacecraft. (1/25)

Different Strokes: Branson Favors Point-to-Point (Sorry Spaceport America) (Source: SPACErePORT)
At Davos, Sir Richard Branson took time to suggest that Virgin Galactic's winged launch system has distinct advantages over the reusability schemes of SpaceX and Blue Origin. He thinks Virgin's approach allows the company to spearhead the development of a point-to-point space travel industry, allowing the super high speed transport of high value people and cargo between spaceports across the globe.

Unfortunately for Spaceport America, this future will rely on a network of well-placed spaceports, located at/near population and commerce centers and with ready links to complementary intermodal ground and air transport systems. Located in a remote New Mexico desert, these are the things that Spaceport America does not have. (1/25)

Blue Origin to Ramp Up New Shepard Tests (Source: Space News)
After completing two successful flights of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle in two months, Blue Origin plans to increase the frequency of future test flights, with dozens more planned before the company is ready to start flying people. Blue Origin President Rob Meyerson said that the company was continuing to review data from the most recent New Shepard flight on Jan. 22, but that initial indications were that the vehicle performed as expected.

“We expect to shorten that turnaround time over time this year, and fly this vehicle again and again,” he said. Those upcoming tests will use the same New Shepard vehicle that flew the previous two flights, with hardware and software modifications as needed between flights.

Meyerson said the company still plans to perform “dozens” of test flights of New Shepard over the next couple of years before the company is ready to carry people on the vehicle. “It really depends on how the flight test program goes,” he said. “It could be a little faster than that, or it could be a little longer than that, depending on what we learn.” (1/25)

What’s So Thrilling About Space Travel? (Source: Guardian)
Lots of news from outer space last week. Somewhere at the back end of the solar system, a huge, icy new planet is lurking, behind Pluto, which, according to the panic merchants, may come crashing by around the end of April – yes, this coming April – and wipe us out. Worse still, we are filling space with a gazillion bits of debris and satellites, which will eventually start colliding, until one day, said NASA employee Donald Kessler, back in 1978, anything that we send up there will be “sandblasted into smithereens.”

What is so thrilling and romantic about space travel and exploration? I am bored stiff with it, and fairly terrified, and what good does it do me if there’s another planet out there? I am stuck on this one. Soon there are going to be squabbles about whose space junk smacked into whose satellite/spaceship/chunk of outrageously expensive equipment at 30,000mph; was it an accidental bit of whirling crap, or did the Russians/Chinese/Americans do it on purpose? Click here. (1/25)

Planetary Society Compares Presidential Candidates on Space (Source: Planetary Society)
We at the Planetary Society are tracking statements about space exploration made by the 2016 presidential candidates. Just to be clear, we plan to provide objective information on the candidates’ positions on space exploration as a service to the public. The Planetary Society does not (and legally cannot) endorse any candidate for any office. That being said, here are a few random comments we've found so far listed in alphabetical order by last name. If you want to see them all, we have them here. (1/25)

Is This Giant Supernova a New Type of Cosmic Object? (Source: Cosmos)
Earlier this month, the biggest explosion ever recorded was dubbed a 'superluminous supernova.' Now its strange behavior is forcing astronomers to reconsider what it might be. Click here. (1/25)

A Space Station, with Surveillance Cameras for Hire (Source: New York Times)
The two cameras sit on the Russian part of the International Space Station. They are named Theia and Iris. And they are available to hire out for "space-based video surveillance." Click here. (1/25)

Air Force Taking Closer Look at Buying Commercial Weather Data (Source: Space News)
As the Air Force develops a long-term weather satellite strategy, the service also is considering using commercial weather data to meet gaps in its forecasting capabilities. In a request for information posted in December, the Air Force said it was looking for white papers that would describe industry’s “long-term interest in providing weather data as a commercial service, utilizing currently available or projected on-orbit weather capabilities.” (1/25)

Don't Blame 'Planet Nine' for Earth's Mass Extinctions (Source: Space.com)
Life on Earth has little to fear from the hypothesized Planet Nine, astronomers say. Some scientists have suggested that a big undiscovered body lying on the far outer reaches of the solar system could be responsible for many of the mass extinction events throughout Earth's history, by shaking up the distant comet repository known as the Oort Cloud and sending some its denizens screaming toward our planet.

But Planet Nine — a newly proposed but not yet confirmed world perhaps 10 times more massive than Earth that's thought to orbit far beyond Pluto — probably could not have triggered such "death from the skies" events, researchers said. "I suspect it has something like zero effect on us," said Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena. (1/25)

Russia is Number One in Space Garbage (Source: Tass)
Russia’s satellite grouping is the third biggest by the number of satellites after the United States and China but Russia still has the largest volume of garbage in orbit, according to a report released by the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) on Monday. "The largest number of space garbage objects belongs to such countries as Russia (6,169 space objects), the United States (4,878) and China (3,645)," the report says. (1/25)

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