Space debris: all you need to know

Nadav Gover-Space Debris

How much space debris floats there?

Let’s review some figures. Since the start of the space age in 1957, about 5560 rockets have been launched so far. These rockets have placed roughly 9600 satellites into the Earth’s orbit, 5500 of which are still floating in space. From these, 2300 are still functioning and the rest are dead.

The risks imposed by space debris

Space debris, if not removed, remains in space until it gets back to the atmosphere where it burns. Debris left in a few hundred kilometers can return to the atmosphere after a few years; however, debris or satellites left at higher altitudes of 36,000 kilometers may continue circling the Earth for hundreds to even thousands of years. Unfortunately, most communication and weather satellites orbit in these altitudes.

How to collect space debris

Collecting space debris is going to be absolutely difficult. Scientists are investigating different schemes to remove hazardous debris from the Earth’s orbit. Here is a list of some methods that are under review to make removing debris possible:

The promising projects

Most of the methods proposed to clear the space debris have remained in theory mode. In practice, no remarkable project has been launched to remove space junks, except for a couple of promising projects that have been launched recently.

The funding barrier

The big obstacle ahead of these projects is how to fund them. The aforementioned UK device cost $17 million, and the ClearSpace-1 robot has a budget of $111 million. We need to wait longer to see how we will finally get rid of space debris, or maybe before that, SpaceX and Amazon do that for us; only time will tell.



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Nadav Gover

Nadav Gover


Enthusiast, with Futuristic Mindset and Experienced in Online Marketing, Consulting, Real Estate, Online Entrepreneurship and many more.