This comes on top of the currently almost 5,000 active and around 3,400 dead satellites in space, according to space data publisher Seradata, with the number of active satellites having almost doubled within a year.
The surge is mainly driven by commercial operators such a Elon Musk’s SpaceX and its Starlink network that aims to launch tens of thousands of satellites to supply global space-based wifi.
Space insurance companies are concerned about the dense accumulation of satellites and space debris, particularly in the low earth orbit (Leo), at altitudes of up to about 2,000 kilometres, arguing it makes risks incalculable.
“I believe that we will have a collision in Leo in the next three years, and at that point, insurance for collisions in Leo may be unobtainable,” Richard Parker of Assure Space said, a unit of insurer AmTrust Financial, which provides space insurance but has withdrawn from insuring risks in Leo.
It is expected to take a long time to clean up space, even if countries were to agree on international binding rules for the disposal of old satellites, as many of today’s problems originate way in the past.
“The latest near-miss a few weeks ago happened between a decommissioned U.S satellite from 1978 and a Soviet one from 1981 that passed each other at an estimated distance of less than 10 meters,” a German military source said.
This Article firstly Publish on www.telegraph.co.uk