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Thread: Will space debris make space exploration impossible

  1. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    So what was going to stop debris--is now going to be a wadded up tether that might move every which way--and be a real debris hazard with its potential reach.

    Like the old idea of lines stretched between mountains to slice off the tail section of the Thuds.

    Only faster.

    This thing might actually be the most dangerous debris up there.
    ...seriously?
    A deployment failure leaves it partially deployed. It'll move in only one direction, at worst it'll be less effective at doing so than if it'd deployed correctly. And it reenters tomorrow. It is of no danger to anyone or anything.

  2. #152
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    ESA's Swarm mission had a close call.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/An...ident_999.html

    A space debris avoidance manoeuvre planned for ESA's Swarm mission proved unnecessary last week, but the close encounter highlighted the growing risk from space debris. It's an increasingly common occurrence: ESA's Space Debris Office starts monitoring a piece of debris - there are over 22 000 tracked in space now - that could pass near one of the Agency's satellites.

    Additional tracking data indicate the object - maybe a chunk of some old satellite already long abandoned - might pass too close, within the 'risk threshold' that surrounds each active spacecraft.

    Upon closer look, uncertainty in the object's track combined with uncertainty in the satellite's orbit mean that a collision cannot be excluded. The only solution is for mission controllers to boost the satellite out of harms' way. It's time to take action.

  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    ...seriously?
    A deployment failure leaves it partially deployed. It'll move in only one direction, at worst it'll be less effective at doing so than if it'd deployed correctly. And it reenters tomorrow. It is of no danger to anyone or anything.
    It has reentered our atmosphere. The experiment never deployed. Hope they try it again, the next time they send a cargo ship to the ISS.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/...e-tether-fails

    "An experimental Japanese mission to clear space junk from the Earth’s orbit has ended in failure, officials said on Monday, in an embarrassment for Tokyo."


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  4. #154
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    Now some positive news. This is some results from a international team led by Spain’s National Research Council, (CSIC) on how an asteroid might be deflected.

    http://www.leonarddavid.com/planetar...teroid-affair/

    Thanks to an international project, led by Spain’s National Research Council, (CSIC), a dedicated effort has focused on how an asteroid might be deflected so as not to collide with the Earth.

    Recent research published in The Astrophysical Journal yields information about the local mechanical properties of the minerals forming this meteorite. Those tests are also useful to understand the potential to deflect threatening asteroids using a kinetic projectile.

    “Studying the chemical and mineralogical composition of the Chelyabinsk meteorite allows us to grasp the importance of the collision compaction processes that asteroids suffer as they near the Earth,” says CSIC researcher Josep Trigo-Rodríguez of the Institute of Space Sciences in Barcelona, Spain.

    “The results of this work are extremely relevant for a possible mission in which we want to efficiently deflect an asteroid which is close to Earth,” Rodriguez adds.

  5. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    This thing might actually be the most dangerous debris up there.
    Before making insinuations like that about researchers, you might want to read up on and try to understand. As has been pointed out, the craft deorbited and is no longer up there in the first place.
    As above, so below

  6. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    So what was going to stop debris--is now going to be a wadded up tether that might move every which way--and be a real debris hazard with its potential reach.

    Like the old idea of lines stretched between mountains to slice off the tail section of the Thuds.

    Only faster.

    This thing might actually be the most dangerous debris up there.
    How big do you think it was? Even before it re entered, it was a small sliver in a vast volume. Like leaving a nail in a board in the middle of the Sahara. Someone could run over it, but not likely.
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  7. #157
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    Japan is still investing in identifying space debris as small as 10cm and doing R&D on how to get rid of them.

    http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Tren....-space-debris

    "The problem of space debris has caught the attention of both the public and private sectors.

    In Japan, the JAXA space agency will reinforce its monitoring system to prevent small pieces of debris from damaging satellites and the International Space Station.

    While the current system covers pieces of debris larger than 1.6 meters, JAXA will make it capable of tracking objects as small as 10cm or so."

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  8. #158
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    JAXA's says their tether experiment was not a total failure.

    http://aviationweek.com/space/mixed-...her-experiment

    As scheduled, HTV-6, loaded with 5 tons of space station trash, made a destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on Feb. 5 at 10:06 a.m. EST, or early Feb. 6 in Japan (12:06 a.m. Japan Standard Time) over the Pacific Ocean.

    “The experiment to verify the system for debris removal using the electrodynamic tether was not a 100% success, but we were able to obtain some important results,” the JAXA spokesman said. “We used [the] Kounotori-6 cargo transporter itself instead of the tether, and succeeded in verifying the electron emission from the field emission cathodes, and controlled the current by changing the voltage autonomously.”

  9. #159
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    That's good.

  10. #160
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    After ISRO successfully put 104 satellites into space with one launch of its PSLV rocket it received flake for increasing the amount of space debris. Its response was putting more satellites with one launch minimises the amount of debris not increase them.

    http://m.hindustantimes.com/india-ne...u4alISUCJ.html

    "The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sent 104 satellites into orbit on Wednesday and the wild applause was soon followed by growing mutterings about India’s space agency adding to space junk.

    However, it’s irrational to blame the agency.

    If anything, carrying multiple payloads lowers orbital debris as each rocket used to send satellites to space also adds to the space junk."

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  11. #161
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    More debris identified and catalogued by the USA. Some created by a 50 year old rocket stage.

    http://spaceflight101.com/50-year-ol...-debris-event/

    The Joint Space Operations Center this week added hundreds of new debris objects to their catalog of objects orbiting Earth, originating from five separate debris events, one of which was previously unknown and involved a 50-year old Delta rocket stage.
    Added to the catalog this week were 351 debris objects:

  12. #162
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    The alarm is being sounded by scientist who say the space debris problem is getting worse.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Sp...tists_999.html

    Scientists sounded the alarm Tuesday over the problems posed to space missions from orbital junk -- the accumulating debris from mankind's six-decade exploration of the cosmos.

    In less than a quarter of a century, the number of orbiting fragments large enough to destroy a spacecraft has more than doubled, a conference in Germany heard.

    And the estimated tally of tiny objects -- which can harm or degrade spacecraft in the event of a collision, and are hard to track -- is now around 150 million.

    "We are very much concerned," said Rolf Densing, director of operations at the European Space Agency (ESA), pleading for a worldwide effort to tackle the mess.

  13. #163
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    You know, I am a big fan of SpaceX and the general trend in reusable rockets - but I can't help but think that there could be a downside to make rocket launches cheaper. More satellites, more debris, not such a good thing in some ways.

    Cubesats also make me wonder if the value of a bunch of tiny satellites is outweighed by the risk and complexity they add to the orbital debris issue.

  14. #164
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    There was a concept called an Orbital Antenna Farm, ("OAF")

    The idea would be to have something a bit smaller than ISS--with with lots of huge dishes. You'd have a few big assets--instead of these cubesat swarms that just clutter things up.

  15. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    There was a concept called an Orbital Antenna Farm, ("OAF")

    The idea would be to have something a bit smaller than ISS--with with lots of huge dishes. You'd have a few big assets--instead of these cubesat swarms that just clutter things up.
    The new architectures actually require these satellite swarms. I have no idea what antenna farms would be good for.

  16. #166
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    Now two articles. One with negative news and the other with some positive news.

    The 1st article is about another satellite that might be joining the junk orbiting earth.

    http://spacenews.com/sess-amc-9-sate...after-anomaly/

    "SES is moving customers off a 14-year-old geostationary communications satellite that’s drifting in orbit following a “significant anomaly” discovered over the weekend.

    “SES has taken immediate action in contacting all customers and is working to transfer services to alternative satellite capacity in order to minimize disruption,” the company said in a June 19 statement."

    And the 2nd article about a solution to deorbit satellites that are no longer in use.

    http://m.esa.int/Our_Activities/Spac...ead_satellites

    "Derelict satellites could in future be grappled and removed from key orbits around Earth with a space tug using magnetic forces.

    This same magnetic attraction or repulsion is also being considered as a safe method for multiple satellites to maintain close formations in space."

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  17. #167
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    NASA has come up with a solution to clean up space debris.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2...ar-junk-orbit/

    "Sticky ‘space Velcro’ modelled on how geckos stick to walls has been developed to help clear dangerous space junk from Earth’s orbit."

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  18. #168
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    NASA has come up with a solution to clean up space debris.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2...ar-junk-orbit/

    "Sticky ‘space Velcro’ modelled on how geckos stick to walls has been developed to help clear dangerous space junk from Earth’s orbit."
    OK, but the more difficult part is reaching the debris and matching orbits with each piece.
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  19. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    OK, but the more difficult part is reaching the debris and matching orbits with each piece.
    True but they can start with the big pieces

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  20. #170
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    Will space debris make space exploration impossible

    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Now two articles. One with negative news and the other with some positive news.

    [snip]

    "SES is moving customers off a 14-year-old geostationary communications satellite that’s drifting in orbit following a “significant anomaly” discovered over the weekend.

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    Also in the good news category, most comms satellites are 22,236 miles out in geosynch or geostationary orbits. So long as they stay in one piece they are a low threat for fragmentation and adding to the junk cloud. It would better if they could be deorbited but the need to do so seems to be far less.



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  21. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    True but they can start with the big pieces

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    The same effort and energy is required for capturing a small or large bit of debris. You have to match its orbital speed precisely before contact, or it'll be like catching a bullet... in your teeth.
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  22. #172
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    This week's Space Review carries an excellent article on how the USA's position developed on how to deal with space debris.

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3361/1

    The US government has a mixed record of implementing the recommendations from scientists on dealing with space debris. Since the space program began in the mid-1950s, most presidential administrations have issued national space policies through presidential decision directives (PDDs), which are developed as the result of an interagency process that brings together multiple departments and agencies that have equity in a particular policy area. These PDDs have gradually included more of a focus on space debris, and directed the executive branch to take specific actions to deal with space debris. For the most part, these actions have been implemented, with the exception of the directive to implement the development of active debris removal (ADR) capabilities in the 2010 National Space Policy issued by the Obama Administration.

    This article attempts to explain why the US government has only taken small steps toward implementing the ADR policy. The first section provides an overview of how US national policy on space debris evolved across multiple presidential administrations. The second section looks at the implementation, or lack thereof, of the space debris elements of the most recent national space policy issued by the Obama Administration in 2010. The third section examines the economics of space debris, and explains why this is a problem the private sector cannot solve on its own. The fourth section uses concepts from the field of public policy to explain why there has not been much progress on ADR. The fifth section outlines steps Congress and the Trump Administration can take to better align organizational incentives within the executive branch in order to make progress on ADR.

  23. #173
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    This week's Space Review gives the best idea I have come across to remove space debris. It will also help in the development of SSPS.

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3363/1

    "Fortunately, there exists a relatively low-cost way to remove this growing threat to the ISS, other spacecraft, and our future space plans. A NASA concept validation study concluded that it is feasible to use power-constrained pulsed lasers to remove virtually all dangerous orbital debris in the range of one to ten centimeters between 400 and 1100 kilometers altitude within two years, and that the cost of doing so would be modest compared to shielding, repairing, or replacing high value spacecraft that would otherwise be lost to small debris impact.2 Moreover, a space-based power-constrained ultraviolet (UV) laser system has special advantages in range, rate of target acquisition, and interaction geometry that drive the estimated cost of removing a single piece of small debris down to less than $1,000.3"

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  24. #174
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    A article that covers the space debris problem and some of the solutions being worked on.

    https://qz.com/1170077/chinas-plumme...-junk-problem/

    China’s first space lab, which stopped working in 2016, is expected to crash to earth in coming months. But unlike the Tiangong-1, many man-made objects remain in space way beyond their useful life, orbiting our planet endlessly and fueling space scientists’ worst nightmares.

    Since human beings began sending satellites into space in the late 1950s, we’ve been leaving behind trash with every launch. By one estimate there are some 170 million pieces of debris traveling at enormous speeds.

    Remember the 2013 movie Gravity? In one of its most vivid scenes, two US astronauts, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, have to abandon their spacecraft after a Russian satellite shutdown sets off a storm of debris, a type of event first imagined by NASA scientist Donald Kessler in 1978. As the density of objects in orbit increases, scientists consider such a cascading collision—where a collision creates shrapnel that creates yet more collisions in an unending loop—increasingly likely. If that were to happen, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to leave Earth’s orbit.

  25. #175
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    A new article “Critical issues related to registration of space objects and transparency of space activities” It does make some proposals on the registration of space objects. The first step is identification of all objects before we can tackle on how to eliminate them.

    http://www.leonarddavid.com/global-s...ssues-flagged/

    There are a number of challenges related to registration of space objects and transparency of global space activities – and the United Nations’ Register of Space Objects is in need of an overhaul suggests an international team of researchers.

    The paper – “Critical issues related to registration of space objects and transparency of space activities” – appears in the journal Acta Astronautica sponsored by the International Academy of Astronautics.

  26. #176
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    China propose using a space based laser to deal with space debris.

    http://www.wired.co.uk/article/space...lasers-zap-pow

    "But there's a new proposal for how we could get rid of some of this junk – or at least make it more manageable. A team of researchers from China has come up with a plan to blast the debris into smaller, less harmful bits using a laser flying around Earth.

    Quan Wen and colleagues at the Air Force Engineering University in China used a numerical simulation to test how a laser might impact the amount of space junk floating around now. A laser would be mounted to a satellite itself, launched into orbit. From there it would emit short bursts of near-infrared light, sending 20 bursts a second for a few minutes. This should be enough to break the debris down, the authors say."

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  27. #177
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    Reply from a closed pop-up thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by DaCaptain View Post
    It seems like such a waste. To simply de-orbit the stuff. Most of it is highly specialized material. Expensive to produce and expensive to get in orbit as well. Since it's already up there, what do you think of the idea of collecting it and recycling it?
    DO you have a fifteen year old laptop in your house? It was expensive to make and is highly specialized? Can you recycle it into something else that uses those parts? What if you needed to be in orbit to find it and recycle it? I'm thinking not.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  28. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by antoniseb View Post
    Reply from a closed pop-up thread:


    DO you have a fifteen year old laptop in your house? It was expensive to make and is highly specialized? Can you recycle it into something else that uses those parts? What if you needed to be in orbit to find it and recycle it? I'm thinking not.
    Yes, I was going to say the same thing. At first it might seem like a nice idea to recycle things in orbit (considering launch costs, for example), but when you get to the nitty-gritty it gets pretty complicated. Things in space have to be very well engineered (often not mass-produced), so you need high-precision instruments to craft the parts, along with experienced engineers. So you would have to have a very developed space infrastructure with complicated machinery and people to run it, to recycle things which are already difficult to catch and to change orbits.
    As above, so below

  29. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Yes, I was going to say the same thing. At first it might seem like a nice idea to recycle things in orbit (considering launch costs, for example), but when you get to the nitty-gritty it gets pretty complicated. Things in space have to be very well engineered (often not mass-produced), so you need high-precision instruments to craft the parts, along with experienced engineers. So you would have to have a very developed space infrastructure with complicated machinery and people to run it, to recycle things which are already difficult to catch and to change orbits.
    Yeah, just getting the material to a location to be reprocessed could easily take more than its mass in propellant. You're better off deorbiting it and launching raw materials to where you need them.

  30. #180
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    A article with a request for authorities to not allow satellites that have lasted beyond their design life without a careful analysis of the risk involved. This in view of the fact, four geostationary satellites failed in orbit.

    http://spacenews.com/op-ed-do-we-car...debris-at-all/

    Last year, in the space of a few months, four geostationary satellites failed in orbit. Each had reached, or exceeded, its design life. Each incident created, or posed a high risk of creating, debris that could endanger other satellites; debris that could linger for thousands of years.

    This alarming string of failures didn’t stop the U.S. Federal Communications Commission — at the end of November — from authorizing SES to move its AMC-1 satellite and operate it until 2021, 10 years beyond its design life. No one objected, but someone should have, given last summer’s incidents:

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