GDB
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A Novel Way To Reduce Space Junk?

Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:10 am

Interesting idea, very low cost too.
With the ever increasing amounts of satellites and rocket stages in orbit, some solutions need examining.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8590103.stm
 
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kanban
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RE: A Novel Way To Reduce Space Junk?

Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:05 pm

makes too much sense and is too inexpensive to succeed. by that I mean not enough venders to scatter across the political spectrum for the voters.. now it this cost over $1 Billion with components from 30 states congress would be for it immediately   
 
kalvado
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RE: A Novel Way To Reduce Space Junk?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:46 am

Doesn't look feasible to me.
Is it for new launches, or for already in-orbit components?
If it's a new-object feature... just one more system which may fail.
Booster stages are commonly left on elliptical orbits, so that they interact with atmosphere and re-enter some time after launch. For a satellite, it's just another system, which either need to be deployed as commanded at the end of lifecycle (if satellite is still under control at that stage!), or it would deploy at launch - and create extra drag and consume precious fuel on orbit.
Docking to uncontrollably flying objects.. that's an interesting one; however I doubt those plastic sails with controlled docking would be more cost effective than a small jet engine in a same package. After all, DARTs failed miserably, and conditions for junk pick-up going to be more harsh - so hypergolic engine is IMHO pretty much a must for docking. Would it be cheaper to put another 10 pounds of fuel? That's pennies on space scale, $50k or so. We don't need much thrust, we need total deltaV
Next, sail would work on relatively low orbits only as far as I understand. No GPS or earth-synchro orbit cleanup that way..
Pricetag - $10M per piece of junk, price of cheapest orbit delivery system by now. You cannot count on getting a piggy-back ride to required orbit every time..

Overall, I don't see that work. Not without very detailed mass-efficiency analysis at the very least.
 
GDB
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RE: A Novel Way To Reduce Space Junk?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:54 am

SSTL have a great record of pioneering small satellites since 1985, originally a small operation out of Surrey University in SE England, they gained a reputation for simplicity, innovation and gained a wide customer base including many governments.
Now part of EADS Astrium they are not an amateur operation and have a US branch.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrey_Satellite_Technology_Ltd

www.sstl.co.uk

[Edited 2010-03-28 00:59:24]
 
Spacepope
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RE: A Novel Way To Reduce Space Junk?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:00 pm

I'm going to have to side with kalvado on this one. It's kind of like a hybrid car: An interesting and functional piece of technology to be sure, however it is akin to a band-aid over a bullet wound when dealing with the problem as a whole.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
Oroka
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RE: A Novel Way To Reduce Space Junk?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:03 pm

It will be good for de-orbiting new space junk, but existing junk, it would be expensive to intercept, attach to the junk, then de-orbit. I think a low power laser in space would be best, it could focus a beam on some junk, and push it lower so the atmosphere can grab it easier. Use solar panels, or maybe a nuclear reactor to power the laser. Too bad the ISS isnt in a higher orbit... you could add a module to it, use some of the ISS' power for the laser, and just pick stuff off when it comes into range.

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