Study suggests 10% of satellites suffer debris impacts

by Peter B. de Selding

PARIS — More than 10 percent of functioning satellites in Earth orbit have likely experienced a sudden shock due to impact by debris too small to be tracked by ground sensors, the former head of NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office said.

Donald Kessler said many satellite operators refuse to publish data on these impacts for proprietary reasons. As a result, the survey he is now working on will be heavily redacted.

But in a presentation to the 7th European Conference on Space Debris, held April 21-25 at the European Space Agency’s ESOC operations center in Darmstadt . . .

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