MOSCOW, May 3. /TASS/. The number of pieces of space debris orbiting the Earth has grown by almost 500 this year, with the United States accounting for 298 of the items, NASA said in a quarterly report.
On January 4 - April 4, 2017 a total of 471 new junk items appeared in near-Earth orbits. Now there are 18,347 of them, including 4,434 payloads (both operational and defunct satellites), and 13,913 rocket bodies and debris.
NASA says Russia accounts for more space debris than any other country - 6,501 pieces (including 155 new ones). The United States is second with 6,017 objects (298 new). China is third (its space debris list has turned a little bit shorter to 3,801 items from the previously registered 3,806).
The other countries’ role in polluting near-Earth orbits is insignificant. France accounts for 532 items, Japan, for 256, India, for 192, the European Space Agency, for 134, and the other countries, for 914.
Russia late last year stopped publishing its own space debris data. Previously that was the task of the automated system of warning of dangerous situations in near-Earth space.
Earlier, the Central Research Institute for Machine Building (TSNIIMASH) warned that the world space industry will be stalled in a century or two from now unless the problem of debris in near-Earth space is resolved.