Game Changer: Triggers and Effects of an Active Debris Removal Market

Published Date


The recent increase in space actors has revived discussions about active debris removal (ADR) systems, which are needed to sustain the space environment. Space debris has been a growing concern for over four decades, particularly as more entities gain access to space. The oldest piece in orbit, the U.S. Vanguard 1 satellite, was launched in 1958, and will remain in MEO for at least the next 200 years. ADR systems and development testing, while welcomed, is currently hamstrung by a lack of market demand due to technical, operational, and political challenges. However, a triggering event could increase market demand for ADR services, transforming them from a niche market to a staple in the space industry.

Author: Christopher May

Learn more about this topic from experts in episode 55 of #TheSpacePolicyShow "Active Debris Removal".