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O’Keefe Talks to TheStreet and TIME About the Space Around Earth, Returning to the Moon

April 10, 2024


Sean O'Keefe

Sean O'Keefe

Nearly 17,000 satellites have been launched into orbit since the 1950s, according to the European Space Agency. Close to 12,000 of those remain in orbit today, though only 9,000 are active. Additionally, space surveillance networks are tracking more than 35,000 pieces of space debris in orbit around the planet. In total, there are more than 11,000 tons of mass orbiting Earth. 

Sean O'Keefe, University Professor and former NASA administrator, tells TheStreet that the ever-increasing crowds of junk orbiting the planet is an "accident waiting to happen." 

"It's the equivalency of looking at traffic jams on the interstate highways," O'Keefe says, adding that the difference is that in orbit, spacecraft lack the option of braking and laying on the horn. "Everything's still traveling at 17,500 miles an hour I

In the TIME article, "Why China Might Beat the U.S. Back to the Moon," O'Keefe says, "There’s no question that the technology they have is verging very close to being competitive with us. Two years ago, I would not have said that, but they are really improving to the point that [the 2030] objective is conceivable."

O'Keefe was also quoted in the WAER article, "Determination and patience reward CNY's women astronauts."

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