China leads in outer space pollution: Russian space agency

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow : China has topped the list of the world’s major polluters of the near-Earth space environment, followed by the US and Russia, the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said Friday.

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All together, the three main space powers produce 93 percent of space debris, according to a statement published on the agency’s website.

“According to estimates, 40 percent of space debris is produced by China. The US’s share accounts for 27.5 percent, and Russia’s (share) for 25.5 percent, with 7 percent falling on other countries involved in space exploration,” the statement said.

The NASA Orbital Debris Program Office has named Russia and CIS countries as the main polluters of outer space. According to the organisation, Russia and its former Soviet allies disposed of a total of 5,833 spacecraft or their parts, including 1,402 satellites and 4,431 parts of carrier rockets, by ejecting them into near-Earth space.

Some 15,550 of “dead” spacecraft, rocket stages, upper-stage rockets and their parts are orbiting around Earth, according to the US space agency.

NASA also named France, Japan and India as major polluters of the near-Earth space environment, with the figures standing at 472, 190 and 170, respectively.

Russian scientists have proposed the creation of an international airspace system for monitoring the near-Earth space environment. The idea has already been supported by the international community, Roscosmos said.