Space Debris
Safety & Security

Space debris by the numbers

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ESA / Safety & Security / Space Debris

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

Information correct as of January 2019

Number of rocket launches since the start of the space age in 1957:
About 5450 (excluding failures)

Number of satellites these rocket launches have placed into Earth orbit:
About 8950

Number of these still in space:
About 5000

Number of these still functioning:
About 1950

Number of debris objects regularly tracked by Space Surveillance Networks and maintained in their catalogue:
About 22 300

Estimated number of break-ups, explosions, collisions, or anomalous events resulting in fragmentation:
More than 500

Total mass of all space objects in Earth orbit:
More than 8400 tonnes

Number of debris objects estimated by statistical models to be in orbit:
34 000 objects >10 cm
900 000 objects from greater than 1 cm to 10 cm
128 million objects from greater than 1 mm to 1 cm