CNES devotes its energies to cleaning up space

Press Release From: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Posted: Monday, March 3, 2003

From 24 to 26 February 2003, the Inter Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) will be presenting to the United Nations a series of "guidelines" setting out measures to be applied to mitigate the hazards posed by man-made space debris.

As one of the IADC’s 11 member space agencies, CNES has played a very active role in the last five years in preparing these draft guidelines, which are based on three key principles:

  • avoid deliberately creating debris in space, as happens when satellites are destroyed in orbit and the resulting debris are not recovered
  • avert explosions by "passivating" satellites and upper stages of launch vehicles, in other words by emptying unspent fuel and batteries
  • take end-of-life measures to protect space, including the disposal of objects in low-Earth orbit up to 2,000 kilometres and in geostationary orbit by allowing them to re-enter and burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere or transferring them into a graveyard orbit

The guidelines will be examined by member nations of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), with a view to their approval. They are a first step in the preparation of future international regulations governing space activities, designed to combat the proliferation of space debris.


Press contact

Sandra Laly – Phone +33 (0)1 44 76 77 32 – E-mail:


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