The space debris that currently surrounds the Earth, better known as space debris, continues to grow and now reach 19,524 , according to data from the NASA Office of the Orbital Remains Program, updated as of June 30, 2019.
And they have become a serious danger for communications on Earth, as the danger of collisions with satellites continues to increase, warns Simonetta Di Pippo, director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space (Unoosa).
“The new trend of placing large constellations of satellites in orbit could benefit communication technologies, it also has the potential to generate new space debris, especially due to the greater risk of collision and the greater number of launches per year,” says Di Pippo.
The space debris count that NASA produces each year counts the amount of active or inactive satellites that have been launched or lowered from their orbits to be sunk into the sea, as well as old and functioning space rockets, and other objects from waste fragmentation, generated for example in explosions.
In a broken down manner, of these 19,524 space bodies that are around the planet, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the former Soviet Union, remains as the one that has generated the most garbage in space, with a total of 6,589 objects (102 more than what was reflected in the previous report, updated on April 1 of this year).
It is closely followed by the United States, with 6,581 debris in orbit (39 more since the last analysis).
However, the number of fragments generated in this country has been increasing at a faster rate than the former USSR in recent years, the difference between the two being less and less.
At the close of 2016, the United States was responsible for 5,719 fragments, while Russia had then generated 6,346.
Thus, today, Russia remains the largest generator of space debris, ahead of the United States. China also remains in third position, with 4,044 wastes in orbit (4,019 until April 1).
Also, a total of 290 pieces have a Japanese seal , the same amount since the last NASA report was issued. Behind is India, with 254 fragments (41 new in 3 months).
For its part, the European Space Agency (ESA) continues to be the space entity that contributes less waste to space , with 145. Together with Japan, they are the only ones that have not generated space debris since April 1.
ESA estimates that there are about 750,000 objects of more than one centimeter without utility orbiting at enormous speed – 56,000 kilometers per hour – and whose impact against a satellite or a space station can cause serious damage, and generate more fragments in orbit.
There are also countries that independently of the space agency to which they belong, also send and ‘throw’ space devices into the Earth’s orbit.
Thus, it would be the case of the 556 French (one more) or the 1,065 of ‘other’ nations (1,052 until April 1).
The NASA program responsible for controlling space debris is the US Space Surveillance Network (SSN). The initiative is developed by the United States Government and its main objective is to detect, control, catalog and identify these man-made objects that orbit around the Earth.
Likewise, it is responsible for predicting when and where an object will fall back on Earth, what is its position in space, detecting new residual bodies in space and to which country they belong, in addition to informing NASA if these objects interfere with the International Space Station (ISS).