Space plays an increasingly crucial role in our daily lives, and the issue of space debris looms large on the horizon. Imagine a scenario where everyday services like TV, navigation, weather forecasting, and online banking are disrupted due to a satellite collision. This is a rising concern and why the UK government is taking bold steps to mitigate the risks associated with space debris by investing in national capabilities and international cooperation.
Scale of the debris challenge
Statistical models estimate that there are approximately one million pieces of space debris measuring between 1 cm and 10 cm, with a staggering 130 million more pieces between 1 mm and 1 cm in orbit. Of these, around 36,500 objects larger than 10 cm are actively tracked, with 31,010 already catalogued. These include relics of the past such as old satellites, spent rocket bodies, and fragments from previous collisions.