Space debris is a problem to which all space-faring nations have contributed.
Likewise, space debris pose a risk to missions of all space-faring nations. Analysts first became aware of an emerging space debris problem in the early 1960s. Since then, the understanding of debris sources, of the resulting debris environment and of the associated risks has significantly improved.
Research results are regularly communicated at the quadrennial series of ESA-organised European Conferences on Space Debris, and at dedicated sessions of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) and Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) congresses.
Since 1993, the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) has conducted annual meetings to discuss research results in the areas of measurements, modelling, protection and mitigation.
The IADC is internationally recognised as a space debris centre of competence and influences space debris mitigation activities at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space - Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (UNCOPUOS - STSC) - and at International Standardisation Organisation - Subcommittee for Space Systems and Operations (ISO-TC20/SC14) meetings.
Today, the global dimension of the space debris problem is internationally recognised, and space system designers, space operators and policy makers share the common view that active control of the space debris environment will be necessary to sustain safe space flight activities into the future.
In order to guarantee an effective and balanced implementation of debris mitigation practises, identified control measures need to be based on an international consensus.
Last update: 20 April 2013