The amount of orbital debris of more than 10 cm in diameter has followed an exponential growth curve since 2005, thus supporting the predictions made by Donald Kessler in the 1970s. The relevance of this issue will increase as tracking capabilities (e.g. JSPOC,…) start to include 2 cm debris leading to a 10-fold increase of the number of objects monitored in space in 2018.
Today the European Space Agency (ESA) estimates that more than 700,000 pieces of space debris larger than 1 cm are currently in orbit.
These objects rotate around Earth at such great speed that even smaller pieces of debris measuring only millimetres in size present a potential risk to space operations and infrastructures.