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I know there are over 19000 objects tracked in Earth orbit. I'm wondering how much of it is:

  1. Active man-made satellites that we currently use
  2. Junk that we discarded or resulted from collisions between satellites
  3. Meteoroids or other naturally occurring objects
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Every object space track is currently tracking can be attributed to a human launch. Therefore, there is only 1 natural object in Earth orbit, the Moon.

As for the number of active satellites, the current number of unclassified payloads is 4047, out of 17152 objects being tracked by Space-track. Most of these payload objects, however, are no longer functioning. The total number, according to the UCS database, of functioning satellites is around 1265. The total number of debris is around 11000, many of which came from two incidents, the Chinese Anti-satellite test, and the Iridium-Cosmos collision, which took place around 2007.

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    $\begingroup$ Could you provide a link for the info about the Chinese Anti-satellite test and the Iridium-Cosmos collision? $\endgroup$ – John Odom Jun 3 '15 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ space.io9.com/a-history-of-garbage-in-space-1572783046 $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Jun 3 '15 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ Is it really the case that of all the meteor material that approaches Earth, none enters a stable orbit for some period of time? $\endgroup$ – kim holder Jun 3 '15 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ It would have to do something kind of strange, and be fairly large. The odds of it sticking around are rather small, it would have to somehow thread the needle between the moon and Earth to stick around, and I don't think such an orbit would be very stable. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Jun 3 '15 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ @briligg, occasionally the Earth picks up a second moon, but it never sticks around for very long (a few years at most). See, for example, 2006 RH120. $\endgroup$ – Mark Jun 3 '15 at 22:05
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By definition, all space debris is man-made. From Wikipedia

Space debris, also known as orbital debris, space junk and space waste, is the collection of defunct objects in orbit around Earth. This includes spent rocket stages, old satellites and fragments from disintegration, erosion and collisions.

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  • $\begingroup$ you have good answers and didn't mean to offend you. $\endgroup$ – Muze the good Troll. Apr 5 '18 at 22:08

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