Pictures of the evolution of space debris

With only 800 of the once launched 6000 satellites still being operational, the pile of space debris is becoming an ever-increasing amount of inactive space hardware orbiting around the Earth.

50% of the mess that besides old satellites also includes broken off fragments of spacecraft are the result of in-orbit explosions (about 200) or collisions.

“…Between the launch of Sputnik on 4 October 1957 and 1 January 2008, approximately 4600 launches have placed some 6000 satellites into orbit, of which about 400 are travelling beyond geostationary orbit or on interplanetary trajectories…”

Click on the image below for the link

link to ESA web site

More information and Hi-Res images at the ESA web site

(image ESA)

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