Space debris by the numbers

The latest figures related to space debris, provided by ESA's Space Debris Office at ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany.

Information correct as of January 2017


Number of rocket launches since the start of the space age in 1957:
About 5250

Number of satellites these rocket launches have placed into Earth orbit:
About 7500

Number of these still in space:
About 4300

Number of these still functioning:
About 1200

Number of debris objects regularly tracked by the US Space Surveillance Network and maintained in their catalogue:
About 23 000

Estimated number of break-ups, explosions and collision events resulting in fragmentation:
More than 290

Total mass of all space objects in Earth orbit:
About 7500 tonnes

Number of debris objects estimated by statistical models to be in orbit:
29 000 objects >10 cm
750 000 objects from 1 cm to 10 cm
166 million objects from 1 mm to 1 cm

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