1.France by itself is the fourth-biggest contributor to “space junk” including spent rockets, retired satellites and fragments from old missions – all of which can damage or destroy satellites and the international space station.
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2.France distantly trails the top three, the former USSR, the US and China.
3.Just over 500 cataloged objects are attributable to France alone, representing just 3% of the total number in orbit.
The Soviet Union Factor
The United States Factor
4.Much of this French debris can be traced to a single accident, in 1996, when a military satellite collided with a spent French rocket – itself space junk.
5.In 1965, France became the third country, after the Soviet Union and the United States, to launch its own satellite into space.
6.Today, France is an integral part of the European Space Agency (ESA), based in Paris.
7.ESA, as an agency, is responsible for fewer than 100 debris items, or barely 0.5%.
Much of the French debris can be traced to an accident in 1996, when a military satellite collided with a spent French rocket.