Largest contributor to space debris (country)
Commonwealth of Independent States
Not Applicable ()

According to figures provided by the University of Texas ASTRIAGraph team on 15 February 2022, there are 6,056 tracked pieces of orbital debris (around 1,000 of which are spent rocket stages) registered to the Commonwealth of Independent States (a body that includes the Russian Federation and many countries in the former Soviet Union). As of the same date there are 15,232 pieces of tracked debris, meaning that debris originating with CIS launches accounts for 40% of all space junk.

The Soviet/Russian space program has never been particularly diligent about minimizing the amount of space debris created by its launches. The CIS has created an average of 4.3 tracked debris objects (including spent rocket stages) for every payload currently in orbit. For the USA the ratio is 1.3 debris objects per payload. The worst offender is China, which put an average of 7.5 debris objects in orbit for every payload.

Lowering the amount of debris created by a mission involves adding an additional degree of complexity and mass to a spacecraft – covers that fold away on hinges and lock into position rather than ejecting on springs, for example. It can also mean sacrificing a certain of performance or lowering mission duration in order to leave enough fuel to safely dispose of the rocket stages and spacecraft.