This artist's impression shows debris objects in orbit around Earth. Note: The debris field shown in the image is an artist's impression based on actual data. However the image does not show debris items in their actual size or density.
The central aim of the Space Surveillance & Tracking segment is to provide an independent ability to acquire prompt and precise information regarding objects orbiting the Earth. Using this data, a wide range of services will be provided – such as warning of potential collisions between these objects and active satellites or alerting when and where debris re-enters the Earth's atmosphere.
This data will be stored in a catalogue, made available to SSA customers across Europe.
Space debris is defined as non-functional, man-made objects, as well as any fragments and elements from them, in Earth orbit or re-entering into the Earth’s atmosphere. It is estimated that the total number of space debris objects in Earth orbit is on the order of 20 000 - for sizes larger than 10 cm; 600 000 - for sizes larger than 1 cm; and, more than 300 million - for sizes larger than 1 mm.