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Russia comes first by space garbage volume, third by satellite grouping — report

January 25, 2016, 13:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Tthe largest space grouping is held by the United States (542 satellites) followed by China (163) and Russia (139)

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© Roscosmos/archive

MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. Russia’s satellite grouping is the third biggest by the number of satellites after the United States and China but Russia still has the largest volume of garbage in orbit, according to a report released by the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) on Monday.

The 2015 final report was prepared by specialists of the ballistic center of the Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIImash), which is Roscosmos’ leading institute.

"The largest number of space garbage objects belongs to such countries as Russia (6,169 space objects), the United States (4,878) and China (3,645)," the report says.

Meanwhile, of all existing satellites (active, back-up space vehicles and satellites undergoing flight trials and partially operational), the largest space grouping is held by the United States (542 satellites) followed by China (163) and Russia (139), according to the report.

The Russian satellite grouping was not far behind the Chinese constellation in April 2015. According to Head of the Roscosmos Scientific and Technical Council Yuri Koptev, the Russian satellite grouping was by five satellites smaller than the Chinese constellation at that time. "Today we are not in the best condition," he said.

Overall, 17,472 man-made space objects were listed in the near-Earth space as of December 31, 2015. Of this number, 1,442 are operational spacecraft and the remaining 16,030 are space garbage, including 2,689 inactive satellites.

Also, there are 1,931 acceleration units and 1,931 upper stages of carrier rockets in orbit, along with 11,041 fragments of space vehicles, boosters and carrier rocket upper stages.

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