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Falling satellite: 10 times space junk has crashed into Earth

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An official from the National Space Program Office in Taiwan points to a screen showing the trajectory of the Russian Mir space station following a successful deorbit in 2001.

Newscom/File

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3. March 2001: Russian space station nosedives near Fiji

Mir, a Soviet and later Russian space station, was an accomplished microgravity research laboratory and the heaviest space station to orbit Earth when it began its suicidal nosedive in late March 2001. Most of the station, which weighed 286,600 pounds, burned up in the atmosphere, but about 1,500 fragments fell to Earth’s surface upon its deorbit. The fragments were large enough that people in Nadi, Fiji, were able to see falling bits of the debris and retrieve large chunks of the space station from the Pacific Ocean.

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