The story of space debris

Since Sputnik 1, we’ve been littering the space around our planet with debris. This interactive visualisation tells the story of how it has accumulated.

Visualising space debris
Dr Stuart Grey, UCL

Click here to launch the visualisation.

Almost 20,000 pieces of space debris are currently orbiting the Earth. This visualisation, created by Dr Stuart Grey, lecturer at University College London and part of the Space Geodesy and Navigation Laboratory, tells the story of where it all came from, using data on the precise location of each piece of junk.

Scroll through the decades and see the mark we’re leaving on the area around our planet with our forays beyond our atmosphere.

Please note, although this visualisation should work on any modern device, it’s best viewed on a laptop or desktop computer with a good internet connection and up to date browser.

If you're interested in embedding this interactive on your website, please get in touch at