During our journey we had to learn quite a lot about the problematics of the Space debris. Even though we wanted to start with recycling, the journey and transformation prior to the contract with ESA made us focus on the Active Debris Removal market. And to show you how that actually looks and what we have to take care of, we would like to give you a brief description in the next lines.
One could say that the issue of space debris is not very well known and possibly uncommon with respect to the usual problems one takes care of during their life. And it is of course not surprising. The Space is high above, everyone thinks is vast and empty. So how can there be any trouble with traffic or even junk?
Orbiting satellites are the foundation of our modern life. They are used in many fields and disciplines such as space science, earth observation, meteorology, meteorology, telecommunications, navigation, human space exploration etc. They offer a unique approach, gathering scientific data, business opportunities and important roles and functions.
According to ESA, in more than 60 years of space activity, more than 6,050 launches have acquired approximately 56,450 objects tracked in space, of which approximately 28,160 are still in space, including the U.S. Navy. The Astronauts Service usually tracks and maintains them in their inventory of about 5-1. 30 cm to 1 m at a geostationary (GEO) height of 10 cm. Only a small fraction – about 4,000 – have intact, operational satellites today. The total weight of this multi-purpose spacecraft exceeds 9300 tons.
Space debris, also called space junk, is a developing problem that has been because of human sports in the area. Space particles refer to man-made object orbiting the Earth that now do not serve a beneficial purpose. These objects variety in size from small fragments to big satellites and rocket degrees. As the number of items in space continues to develop, so too does the risk of collisions and the capability for serious results.
The presence of space debris is a great challenge to the ongoing use of space for clinical studies, industrial activities, and national safety functions. The results of area particles may be felt in numerous areas. Firstly, area debris poses a risk to satellites, spacecraft, and astronauts in orbit. In 1983, the Space Shuttle Challenger suffered damage to one in all its home windows due to a small fragment of area debris. More recently, in 2009, a satellite collision befell among an inactive Russian military satellite and an operational American communications satellite tv for pc, producing lots of additional portions of particles. The accelerated chance of collisions is a significant situation for spacecraft operators, as a collision with even a small fragment of area particles can motivate intense harm or even destruction.
The increase of space debris is the result of several elements. One of the primary reasons is the buildup of discarded rocket levels, satellites, and different objects from past space missions. As the number of launches and missions in the area continues to boom, so too does the range of items left in orbit. The issue of debris is further aggravated via the intentional destruction of satellites, either through anti-satellite testing or because of malfunctions or cease-of-life disposal. For instance, in 2007, China tested an anti-satellite weapon that destroyed one of its personal satellites, generating thousands of additional portions of debris. Finally, collisions among current space debris does generate additional debris.
The rise of space debris poses a massive risk to space activities. As the quantity of space particles increases, the probability of collisions among objects in orbit also increases. These collisions can cause vast damage to present satellites and spacecraft, doubtlessly disrupting communication networks, GPS structures, and other essential services. Additionally, the accumulation of space particles can create a barrier to space exploration and improvement, because the hazard of collision makes it increasingly difficult to operate in orbit. This is the main concern as such a situation results in Kessler syndrome.
The Kessler Syndrome is a phenomenon in which the amount of junk in orbit around Earth reaches a point where it just creates more and more space debris, causing big problems for satellites, astronauts and mission planners. As could be seen in the intro of storyline for the movie Gravity – the destruction of a dead satellite spawns a swarm of debris in Earth orbit, which wreaks ever-increasing havoc as it zooms around our planet. The cloud destroys a number of communications satellites, generating more and more debris with every violent collision.
There are several potential solutions to the problem of space debris, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. One approach is to reduce the creation of new space debris by improving the design of satellites and other space objects to make them more resilient and easier to dispose of at the end of their useful life. This can include the use of materials that are less likely to generate debris, such as self-destructing satellites, or the use of propulsion systems that allow for controlled end-of-life disposal. Additionally, the development of standards and guidelines for end-of-life disposal can help ensure that satellites are disposed of in a safe and responsible manner.
Another approach is to actively remove existing debris from space. This can be done using robotic spacecraft that capture and retrieve debris or by deploying technologies such as space nets, tethers, and harpoons to capture and retrieve debris. These methods can help reduce the amount of debris in orbit and decrease the risk of collisions. However, these methods can be expensive and challenging to implement on a large scale.
Finally, there is a need for increased international cooperation and collaboration to develop effective policies and regulations governing the use of space and the disposal of space debris. The United Nations has established guidelines for the mitigation of space debris, which include recommendations for the design of space objects, the reduction of the creation of new debris, and the disposal of existing debris. However, these guidelines are not legally binding and are not universally adopted. Increased cooperation and collaboration between nations can help establish more effective policies and regulations, reduce the risk of collisions, and ensure the safe and sustainable use of space for future generations.
In conclusion, even though not very well known, the problem of space debris is a significant challenge that requires a multi-faceted approach to address. The increase of space debris poses a significant risk to future space activities, including scientific research, commercial activities, and security. While there are several potential solutions to the problem, including improving the design of space objects, actively removing existing debris, and increasing international cooperation, addressing the problem of space debris requires a sustained and coordinated effort from all stakeholders. By working together to mitigate the effects of space debris, we can ensure the continued use of space for the benefit of humanity.