Wednesday, November 29, 2023
HomeSpace EconomyPaper: The History of Space Debris

Paper: The History of Space Debris


In the past fifty-five years, the space around the Earth has gone from a virtually debris-free environment to a zone cluttered with man-made objects that threaten launches, active , and the International (). reports that as of 2013, more than 21,000 pieces at least the size of a softball were being tracked, and an estimated 500,000 pieces at least the size of a marble are thought to exist. More than 100 million even smaller objects, ranging down to the size of a tiny fleck of paint, are too small to detect or track. Active satellites, numbering about 1,100, comprise about 6 percent of Earth-orbiting objects; the rest is junk, commonly called . This paper examines what space debris consists of, where it came from, and what problems it is causing.



Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sent every Monday morning. Quickly scan summaries of all articles published in the previous week.

Most Popular