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Pages 1-6

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From page 1...
... In addition, astronauts inspected its thermal protection system for MMOD damage before the shuttle reentered Earth's atmosphere; Orion, NASA's capsule to carry astronauts to low Earth orbit, includes designs to mitigate the threat of MMOD damage and provide increased safety to the crew. When a handful of reasonable assumptions are used in NASA's MMOD models, scenarios are uncovered that conclude that the current orbital debris environment has already reached a "tipping point." That is, the amount of debris -- in terms of the population of large debris objects, as well as overall mass of debris in orbit -- currently in orbit has reached a threshold where it will continually collide with itself, further increasing the population of orbital debris.
From page 2...
... Given that the committee was told to assume a constrained budget environment, it felt that NASA management would be better suited to prioritize the agency's efforts, in consultation with the broader MMOD scientific community and in response to the com mittee's various findings and recommendations. NEW MMOD AREAS FOR NASA TO PURSUE The study of satellite anomalies, mission-degrading or mission-terminating events affecting on-orbit opera tional spacecraft, could provide a meaningful data set that would contribute to an increased understanding of the hazards to spacecraft posed by MMOD relative to other hazards.
From page 3...
... 17. Initiate an effort to record, analyze, report, and share data on satellite anomalies in order to bet ter quantify the risk from orbital debris particulates too small to be cataloged yet large enough to disrupt space operations.
From page 4...
... If the technologies to remove on-orbit debris are developed and implemented, the management requirements on NASA as an agency may become as significant as those associated with any major NASA program. If the United States is to pursue debris removal operations, then extensive international cooperation will be required, particularly because current international legal principles restrict nations to retrieving or otherwise sal vaging only their own objects, and around 30 percent of the objects are attributable to the United States.
From page 5...
... Such planning will require an integrated effort involving all levels of management and policy makers, as well as adequate support at the technical levels. Recommendation: NASA should lead public discussion of the space debris problem to emphasize debris as a long-term concern for society that must continue to be addressed today.

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