Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, addresses the general debate of the 76th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (New York, 21-27 September 2021). The UN General Assembly (UNGA) is the main policy-making organ of the Organization. Comprising all Member States, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations. Each of the 193 Member States of the United Nations has an equal vote.
On 20 April 2021, ESA will host the 8th European Conference on Space Debris from Darmstadt, in Germany. Scientists, engineers, industry experts and policy makers will spend the virtual four day conference discussing the latest issues surrounding space debris. They will exchange the latest research, try to come up with solutions for potential problems and define the future direction of any necessary action. There are currently over 129 million objects larger than a millimetre in orbits around Earth. These range from inactive satellites to flakes of paint. But no matter how small the item of debris, anything travelling up to 56 000 km/h in an orbit is dangerous if it comes into contact with the many satellites that connect us around the world, be it for GPS, mobile phone data or internet connectivity. The solution is to take action before it’s too late. This is why ESA has commissioned ClearSpace-1 - the world’s first mission to remove space debris - for launch in 2025.
More than 27,000 pieces of orbital debris, or “space junk,” are tracked by the Department of Defense’s global Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensors. Much more debris -- too small to be tracked, but large enough to threaten human spaceflight and robotic missions -- exists in the near-Earth space environment.