ESA Media Fact Sheet Space Debris 22 April 2013
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  • 1. 22 April 20 013ESA Space Debris Off e ficeESA/ESOC Darmstad C, dthttp://wwww.esa.int/d debrisMedia Fact Sheet aFocus on the growin thre of sp ng eat pace de ebrisAll human-made obje now in s ects space result from the n t near-5000 launches, as of Septemb 2012, s berby all space efaring nati ions since th start of t space ag Around t he the ge. two-thirds of catalogue objects o edoriginate fr rom orbital break-ups – more tha 240 explo l an osions – and fewer tha 10 known collisions. an nApproxima ately 20% of the catalogued object that are in orbit are p o ts n payloads (so ome 6% areeoperationa and abou 17% com al), ut mprise spent rocket bod and oth mission- t dies her -related obje ects.Fragmenta ation debris dominate t smaller sizes down to 1 mm. Below 1 mm, slag and d s the n B dustresidues fr rom more th 1000 so rocket m han olid motor firing prevail. gsThe 2009 c collision between Ameericas Iridiu um-33 civil communica ations satell and Rus lite ssia’sKosmos-22 military satellite de 251 y estroyed both and creaated a large amount of ddebris – mo than ore2200 track fragmen ked nts.On 11 Januuary 2007, China condu C ucted an annti-satellite t test, interce epting their Feng Yun 1 satellite r 1Cwith a surf face-launched medium m-range miss sile. The int tercept occu urred at an altitude of 8 km, 862adding mo than 330 trackable objects to the US Spa Surveilla ore 00 e ace ance Netwo catalogu ork ue,increasing its size by 25% in just one inciden 2 nt.Scientists e estimate the level of sp e pace debris o orbiting Ear to be around: rth• 29 000 objects larger than 10 cm s n• 670 000 piece larger tha 1 cm 0 es an• mo than 170 million abo 1 mm ore 0 oveAny of thes objects ca harm an operationa spacecraf For exam se an n al ft. mple, a collis sion with a 1 10-cmobject wou entail a c uld catastrophic fragmenta c ation of a ty ypical satelli a 1-cm object will m ite, o most likelydisable a sp pacecraft an penetrat the ISS sh nd te hields, and a 1-mm object could de estroy sub-ssystems onboard a spaacecraft.Growth in space de n ebris nuing growth in space dThe contin h debris poses an increas s sing threat t economic to cally vital or rbitalregions. ollisions wit fragment larger tha 10 cm woSatellite co th ts an ould be cata astrophic, re eleasing haz zardousdebris clou that can cause furth catastro uds n her ophic collisi ions that ma lead to in ay ncreasing de ebris insome orbit ts. perators woSatellite op orldwide, inc cluding those flying tel lecom, weatther, navigaation, broad dcast andclimate-mo onitoring missions, are now focusing their eff m e fforts on con ntrolling spa debris. T ace These
  • 2. measures c stabilise the enviro can e onment in th short ter but need to be appl he rm, d lied by all sp pacefaringorganisatio immedi ons iately.Mitigatio onSpace debr mitigatio measures, if properl implemen ris on ly nted by sate ellite design ners and mi issionoperators, can curtail the growth rate of the debris popu ulation. Act tive debris r removal, ho owever, hasbeen show to be nece wn essary to re everse the de ebris increa ase.The ultima goal is to prevent co ate o ollisional ca ascading fro setting in over the n om n next few dec cades. lobal task, a active reThis is a gl and emoval is a challenge that should be undertak by joint efforts in ken tcooperatio with the w on worlds spac agencies and indust ce try.ESA, as a s space technoology and o operations a agency, has identified the developm ment of acti removal ive ltechnologies as a strat tegic goal.IADC – In nter-Agen Debris Coordina ncy ation Comm mitteeThe most p prominent body for inf b formation exxchange on space debr is the 12- n ris -member In nter-Agency yDebris Coo ordination CCommittee. The IADC is internatioonally recog gnised as a space debri centre of iscompetenc and influences space debris mit ce e tigation acti ivities at the United Na e ations UNCO OPUOS -STSC (United Nations Committee on the Pea s aceful Uses of Outer Sp s pace - Scien ntific and Te echnicalSubcommi ittee) - and at ISO-TC2 20/SC14 (In nternational Standardis l sation Orgaanisation -Subcommi ittee for Spa Systems and Opera ace s ations) meet tings.Mitigatio guidelin at ESA on nes AIn 2002, th IADC pu he ublished the "IADC Spa Debris M e ace Mitigation Guidelines." In 2007 th G " heseguidelines were approoved by the 63 UNCOP PUOS-STSC member na ations as vo oluntary hig gh-levelmitigation measures. Since the mmid-1990s, space agenc in Europ have dev s cies pe veloped mor retechnically oriented gu y uidelines as a "European Code of Conduct," w s which was ssigned by AS UKSA, SI,CNES, DLR and ESA in 2006. R iThe core ellements of this Code of Conduct a in line w the IAD and UN g t f are with DC guidelines. I order to Intailor the C Code of Con nduct to the needs of ES projects, ESA has developed its own "Req SA d quirementson Space D Debris Mitig gation for A Agency Proje ects". These instruction came into force on 1 April e ns o2008. They are applic y cable to all f future procu urements of space syste f ems (launch hers, satelli and itesinhabited oobjects).ContactsBernhard v Weyhe, Andreas Sc von , chepers, Da aniel ScukaCorporate Communic cations Offic ceEuropean SSpace Agen ESA/ESOC ncyesoc.commmunication@ @esa.intTel: +49 61 90 2516 151 6