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Russia sole country to reduce orbital space junk last year — NASA report

There are currently 6,276 space objects attributed to Russia compared with 6,312 a year ago

MOSCOW, April 15. /TASS/. The amount of space junk accumulated in the near-Earth orbit last year increased by several hundred objects while Russia proved to be the sole country to reduce its share of debris in orbit, a NASA report said on Friday.

According to the data of US ballistics specialists, there were 17,385 man-made objects in orbit as of April 6: 4,041 satellites both operational and withdrawn from operation and 13,344 space rocket upper stages, acceleration units and various fragments.

As of April 1, 2015, there were 16,926 objects in the near-Earth orbit, including 13,019 space rocket stages, acceleration units and spacecraft fragments and 3,907 satellites.

Overall, the international satellite grouping was replenished with 130 satellites and 325 space junk objects over the year.

According to the NASA report, Russia's share of space junk in the near-Earth orbit decreased while the share of other countries’ debris increased.

There are currently 6,276 space objects attributed to Russia compared with 6,312 a year ago. Over the year, the Russian orbital grouping was replenished with six satellites while the debris decreased by 42 objects.

Meanwhile, the number of space objects attributed to the United States increased from 5,142 to 5,483. Moreover, the US increased not only the number of its orbital satellites but also space debris, which grew by 303 objects.

China also increased the number of space vehicles and space junk in orbit from 3,716 objects to 3,791 through the enlargement of both its orbital grouping and the increase in the amount of space debris.

Other countries that account for several hundred objects in outer space each are in a similar situation: they increased both the number of satellites and space debris in orbit.