Oct. 5 (UPI) — NASA’s official watchdog panel has renewed calls for the agency to move faster on a plan to better track and mitigate dangers posed by orbiting debris in space.
Members of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel said during a regular meeting last week that the agency has made some progress, but it needs to focus on space debris as a top priority.
At stake is the safety of astronauts, anyone going into space on planned private missions and the nation’s growing fleet of satellites used for national security, communications and scientific observation.
Because debris orbits at thousands of miles per hour, even tiny pieces of space trash can puncture spacecraft.
The panel’s comments came on the heels of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine telling a Senate Committee on Wednesday that the agency needs Congress to fund a comprehensive strategy for debris tracking and management, including international outreach.