Space debris mitigation
Reducing mass from high density debris regions
70% of all catalogued objects are in low-Earth orbit (LEO), which extends to 2000 km above the Earth's surface. To observe the Earth, spacecraft must orbit at such a low altitude. The spatial density of objects increases at high latitudes.
Note: The debris field shown in the image is an artist's impression based on actual data. However, the debris objects are shown at an exaggerated size to make them visible at the scale shown.
End-of-life re-entry technologies
After 6 months, the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), loaded with 6.5 tonnes of waste, separates from ISS and fully burns up during a guided and controlled reentry high over the Pacific.
In combination with ESA's new Ariane 5, 8.5 m-long ATV will enable Europe to transport cargo to the International Space Station. The 45 m³ pressurized module of the ATV delivers up to 7.2 tonnes of equipment, fuel, food, water and air for the crew.
Last update: 10 April 2013