Most geo satellites retired in 2015 violated orbit-debris guidelines

by Peter B. de Selding

Many satellite operators continue to violate long-established guidelines for end-of-life disposal of their spacecraft, both for larger satellites in geostationary orbit and the many smaller satellites in low Earth orbit. A rule of thumb for low-orbiting satellites: A spacecraft at 600 kilometers or above needs to have a propulsion system or an orbit-drag unit to assure it falls into the atmosphere within 25 years, as the guidelines provide. For geostationary satellites, the guidelines call for the repositioning of retired spacecraft several hundred kilometers above the geostationary belt. For medium-Earth-orbit satellites, where the U . . .

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