Space debris populations seen from outside geosynchronous orbit (GEO). Note the two primary debris fields, the ring of objects in GEO, and the cloud of objects in low Earth orbit (LEO).
The debris environment in low Earth orbit is expected to continue to grow over time, even if strict end-of-life disposal measures are followed. Removing large objects from orbit is no easy task. Almost no spacecraft are designed to be physically grappled once they are in orbit, and they may be tumbling or spinning, making them difficult to control. But active debris removal such as this is a first step to cleaning up the environment in space, and maintaining the low Earth orbit as a safe place to do business.