Orbital debris generally refers to material that is on orbit as the result of space missions, but is no longer serving any function. There are many sources of debris. One source is discarded hardware. For example, many launch vehicle upper stages have been left on orbit after they are spent. Many satellites are also abandoned at the end of useful life. Another source of debris is spacecraft and mission operations, such as deployments and separations. These have typically involved the release of items such as separation bolts, lens caps, momentum flywheels, nuclear reactor cores, clamp bands, auxiliary motors, launch vehicle fairings, and adapter shrouds.
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