Horizon: The Trouble with Space Junk

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Horizon: The Trouble with Space Junk

Series 51



Here’s a slightly terrifying film to launch a new run of Horizon. Most of us have a vague sense that littering space is a bad idea, messy. But this spells out just how bad the problem has got.

Floating in orbit round Earth are thousands of satellites, and millions more relics of satellites, gloves, lost tool kits, flakes of paint and so on. But “floating” gives the wrong idea: “These objects are going at 17,000mph. When you’re going at 17,000mph it does not take a big piece of debris to ruin your day,” says the general in charge of US Space Command. And we see what that means in practice.


Documentary revealing the scale of the problem of debris in space, with Earth surrounded by hundreds of millions of items moving at 17,000 miles per hour. The International Space Station had to move three times in 2014 to avoid potentially lethal chunks of junk and the Horizon team reveals how the US government is investing $1 billion to track space debris, while companies around the world are developing ways to clear up the mess, from nets and robot arms to harpoons.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Helen McCrory
Director David Stewart
Producer David Stewart
Series Editor Steve Crabtree
Documentary Science