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The 6th European Conference on Space Debris was held 22-25 April 2013. During the concluding press briefing at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, the conference results were released, including the finding that future space missions must be sustainable, including safe disposal when they are completed. The current levels mean that we must soon begin removing debris from orbit, with research and development urgently needed for pilot ‘cleaning’ missions. The removal of space debris is an environmental problem of global dimensions that must be assessed in an international context, including the UN.