The orbital debris environment today is the consequence of explosion breakup events in both Low Earth Orbit and geosynchronous orbit. In the recent past, most operators have adopted practices which reduce the likelihood of further explosions. In the future, the debris environment is likely to be determined by collision events which become increasingly probable as the number of objects in orbit continues to grow. Limiting the likelihood of collisions by limiting the orbital lifetime of objects is more costly than the operational modifications that have been implemented to date, but appears to be necessary. Design and operations implications are examined.
Joseph P. Loftus,
Robert C. Reynolds,
"Orbital debris mitigation: issues and options", Proc. SPIE 1951, Space Debris Detection and Mitigation, (15 September 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.156543; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.156543