Considering the amount of satellites and rockets launched with second stages or other parts floating in space, approximately how many pieces of space debris would there be in low earth orbit (counting broken pieces of the same component–if any–as one part)?


About 13000 objects (including operational satellites and debris) are tracked between 200 - 2000 km altitude orbits which is the range for LEO, according to the retrieved space-track web page data in the following article: https://www.amostech.com/TechnicalPapers/2016/Poster/Hall.pdf. LEO debris population constitutes about 78% of the total resident space object.

This is a good representation of present space object catalog: http://astria.tacc.utexas.edu/AstriaGraph/

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    $\begingroup$ Hi @Harish and Welcome to Space! Whenever citing data or statements of fact it's important to include a link to the source so that people can verify it and read further. Most parts of Space-Track requires a login and I'm not sure if the part you are quoting allows linking or not, but it is worth a try. Otherwise can you find another source for this currently unsourced information? Thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 21 '19 at 2:29
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Thank you for your comments. Added a publicly available source for the given data. $\endgroup$ – Harish Mar 22 '19 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the edit! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 22 '19 at 4:01
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    $\begingroup$ It's worth mentioning that this is tracked debris, i.e. large enough to be detected from the ground (~10 cm diameter and larger, IIRC). There is more debris that is too small to track. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Mar 22 '19 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Hobbes: thanks for your comment. edited $\endgroup$ – Harish Mar 25 '19 at 1:59

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