Jonathan's Space Pages

Space Object Reentries

Catalog of Space Object Reentries


In this catalog I assess and categorize each reentry of a historical artificial space objects (payloads, rocket bodies, ejected parts but not fragmentation debris) to compare with present disposal standards.

Statistical summary table [NOTE CAVEATS IN CODES.HTML!]

In the table below, rather than estimating casualty risk, we regard reentries of objects with masses greater than a threshold mass M0 as problematic.

For this edition of the table, M0 has been set to 5000 kg. Note that less massive objects, depending on design, may also pose a significant casualty risk.

Explanation of columns for this table

Updated: 2023 Dec 19 01:58:58

ReentryStats
CodeDescClausePL DisposedPL ActiveRBPartsTotal freePL Att DispTotal
Disposal consistent with US ODMSP
D-SODown/SO Targeteda1 1 0 466 18 485 0 485
D-DODown/Deorbiteda1 365 0 463 2010 2838 0 2838
D-LANDDown/Landeda1/f 2094 0 0 0 2094 0 2094
D-LEO25Down/LEO Reentry <25yr, Low mass M<M0b 3218 0 3257 6158 12633 280 12913
D-NL25Down/LEO-crossing <25yr, Low mass M<M0b 244 0 657 622 1523 2 1525
U-LEO25Up/LEO <25yr expected,Low mass M<M0b 1695 5475 148 67 7385 15 7400
U-NL25Up/LEO-crossing <25yr expected, Low mass M<M0b 1 0 14 10 25 2 27
U-MEO-EMEO Graveyard (ell.)c.I 28 3 209 110 350 4 354
U-MEO-CMEO Graveyard (circ)c.II 221 89 117 59 486 7 493
U-GGYDGEO Graveyardd 237 604 60 13 914 2 916
D-LUNDown/LunarL 44 0 2 64 110 0 110
U-HELHeliocentrica2 149 21 107 225 502 1 503
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SubtotalGood disposal (see note below)- 8297 6192 5500 9356 29345 313 29658
Other disposal
D-LEO25MDown/LEO Reentry <25yr, Massive M>M0- 35 0 93 0 128 3 131
U-LEO25MUp/LEO <25yr expected, Massive M>M0- 3 0 7 0 10 0 10
D-LEODown/LEO Reentry >25yr- 33 0 44 61 138 0 138
D-NLDown/LEO-crossing Reentry >25yr- 23 0 41 60 124 1 125
U-LEO+Up/LEO >25yr exceeded- 1289 0 650 514 2453 14 2467
U-LEOUp/LEO >25yr expected- 780 991 217 375 2363 10 2373
U-NL+Up/LEO-crossing >25yr exceeded- 24 0 22 108 154 2 156
U-NLUp/LEO-crossing >25yr expected- 11 0 10 78 99 0 99
U-DESTDestroyed- 9 0 4 3 16 0 16
U-GTOCrosses LEO and GEO- 113 20 359 152 644 3 647
U-XMEOViolates MEO rule- 35 33 5 4 77 0 77
U-XGEOCrosses GEO- 103 0 130 48 281 0 281
U-GEOIn GEO- 437 0 126 112 675 0 675
U-CISLCislunar- 23 23 38 47 131 0 131
//UNK////UNK//- 1 0 0 0 1 0 1
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SubtotalBad disposal- 2919 1067 1753 1567 7306 33 7339

Note: "Good disposal" means good from the point of view of risk for in-orbit debris collisions; can still be very "bad" from the point of view of ground casualty list for massive reentries.

Further caveats on the following items from US ODMSP Section 4-1:

Note: The ESA standard (ESSB-ST-U-007, 2023) and the ISO standard (ISO-24113, 2023) have generally similar requirements to the US standard, although the ISO standard restricts the GEO protected zone to inclinations of less than 15 degrees, and the ESA standard could use some improvements in clarity.