I was reading this news paper article which says

Keeping a close watch on some space debris that threatens to get in the way of the satellites to be launched by PSLV-C23 on Monday morning, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) started the 49-hour countdown for the launch three minutes late, at 8.52am on Saturday.

so my questions is why the space debris does not fall on to earth or why they dont roam in universe.The space debris might be from a satellite launch long before so why do they still orbit around earth.If you say this is due to the orbital velocity with which the satelite is launched and so the debris also get the speed and orbits the earth then why they dont get attracted towards as the faulty satellites do

  • $\begingroup$ @downvoter can I have a word from you please? $\endgroup$ Jul 9, 2014 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ SpringLearner, I'm not the downvoter, but have you seen this question. If so, what specifically is still unclear to you that isn't explained there? $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Jul 9, 2014 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ Voting to close as duplicate of the question called2voyage pointed out $\endgroup$ Jul 9, 2014 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ @SpringLearner Things are simetimes unfair in the short term (I tried to compensate that), longterm maybe not. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Sep 1, 2014 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterHorvath sorry did not understand $\endgroup$ Sep 2, 2014 at 3:25

1 Answer 1


In general terms, once an object is in orbit, it will stay in orbit. Doesn't matter if it's debris, a satellite, rocket body, etc.

The only thing that can bring it back down to earth or break it out of earth orbit to "roam the universe" is a significant energy change.

The only natural energy change that can bring the satellite down is atmospheric drag, which will only impact the very lowest orbits - those with a perigee (closest point of the orbit to earth) < 500-600 km altitude.

The only thing that can break it out of earth orbit to "roam the universe" is a lot more energy to boost the object up to escape velocity. Something that doesn't happen naturally.

  • $\begingroup$ In general, this is so not true. $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2014 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ What's not true about it? $\endgroup$ Dec 1, 2014 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ Objects in low Earth orbit are subject to aerodynamic drag; they inevitably fall to Earth. Orbital resonances can kick something out of orbit or make the eccentricity so high that the orbiting object collides with the primary. Non-spherical gravitating bodies can have very bizarre effects. Tidal acceleration can cause an orbiting object to escape (or collide). The Poynting–Robertson effect makes dust spiral into the Sun. Over the very long haul, gravitational radiation makes orbiting objects spiral in toward one another. Orbits are not forever. $\endgroup$ Dec 1, 2014 at 17:26

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