Posted at 07:19 a.m. PST; Thursday, March 26, 1998
Space junk so prolific that radar will track debris
by The Associated Press
OSLO - Earth's `backyard' is so cluttered with space junk that the United States and Norway are planning a giant radar station to help track the orbiting debris.
The radar station, called Globus II, will be built in Norway's Arctic, a few miles from Russian military bases on the Kola Peninsula, officials said yesterday.
There are an estimated 9,500 manmade objects in orbit around Earth. About 93 percent of them are space garbage, ranging from dead satellites and booster rockets to bolts and metal bits, said Norwegian project leader Tom Rykken.
The amount of space junk has doubled since 1980 and poses a navigational hazard in space, said Norwegian space expert Erik Tandberg. "If such an object hit a new satellite or spaceship, it would cause serious damage," Tandberg said.
Work on the 132-foot-tall radar dome is to start in April and be completed in late 2000. It will be operated by Norway's Military Intelligence Service.
Officials refused to discuss possible military uses for the radar. Norway is the only member of NATO that shares a border with Russia.
Copyright © 1998 The Seattle Times Company
Gina "Nanogirl" Miller
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