The crash of two satellites has generated an estimated tens of thousands of pieces of space junk that could circle Earth and threaten other satellites for the next 10,000 years, space experts said Friday.
One called the collision "a catastrophic event" that he hoped would force the new U.S. administration to address the issue of debris in space.
Russian Mission Control chief Vladimir Solovyov said Tuesday's smashup of a derelict Russian military satellite and a working U.S. Iridium commercial satellite occurred in the busiest part of near-Earth space — some 500 miles (800 kilometers) above Earth.
"800 kilometers is a very popular orbit which is used by Earth-tracking and communications satellites," Solovyov told reporters Friday. "The clouds of debris pose a serious danger to them."