Satellite disposal scorecard: Constellations do better than single-satellite owners, commercial better than military

by Peter B. de Selding

PARIS — An annual assessment of space debris-mitigation efforts worldwide found broad but still-insufficient improvement in satellite operators’ compliance with international guidelines.

The 2023 edition of the “Space Environment Report” published by the 22-nation European Space Agency (ESA) shows a gradual adoption of practices including end-of-life disposal of satellites. But it also shows that far too many operators in low Earth orbit — below 2,000 kilometers — are doing either nothing or too little to remove their spacecraft from these increasingly crowded orbital highways.

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