It is estimated that there are at the moment about 1,000 working satellites and about 20,000 pieces of debris orbiting the Earth, including such things as nuts and bolts, jettisoned spacecraft parts, tools lost on spacewalks and solid fuel fragments. Mankind seems to leave litter where ever he goes!
Although most of the debris in space is relatively small, the danger lies in the fact that it is travelling fast. Below altitudes of 2,000 km, the average relative impact speed is 36,000kmph or 21,600 mph, and so at this velocity any collision can be dangerous. For example, it is calculated that a 1mm metal chip could do as much damage as a .22 calibre bullet, whereas a piece the size of a tennis ball could be as effective as using dynamite – perhaps penetrating and seriously damaging any spacecraft.
All being well, a revised launch date should be set in about a month’s time after further testing of the software has taken place, and the new SBSS satellite will then take its place 627kms above the earth to begin its litter patrol.