In my last article I’ve wrote about how dangerous space debris is to our species, and now I would love to explain how we can fight with that, and why it’s great business for private space companies.
Before we hit point of no return, when possibility of going into space is too dangerous, governments and private companies already are planning on how to fight with this fact. Everyday tens or even hundreds of corrects are made in trajectory of satellites. Everyday we follow movements of thousands objects (US Strategic Command was tracking 17 852 objects as of 2016), but there is more than 170 MILLION objects than 1 centimeter! Every collision with satellite, space station or vehicle is dangerous and can cost us millions or even kill someone (for example it can damage plating of the spacecraft, making reentry into atmosphere suicidal mission). Thus countries and companies are developing means on how to fight this threat.
First example of measures taken by our race is RemoveDEBRIS satellite, object was co-funded by European Union, created in cooperation with many corporations, and launched using Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX. Mission appears to be success because goals were reached, satellite has already proven that it can use net and harpoon to catch objects and force them to burn in Earths atmosphere.
Another proposition is e.Deorbit, satellite is to be launched in 2023 and it goal is to remove only big objects, mostly whole zombie-satellites. In comparison RemoveDEBRIS is focused on small objects. E.Deorbit will be the first satellite constructed to take down other satellites. It’s main “weapon” will be net or robotic arm (this matter is still under debate), and method of liquidation is simple, put objects into atmosphere so they can burn up.
It’s worth mentioning that both projects are European, and Europe is leading in terms of fighting for clean space. Each year consciousness about dangers linked with plastic grows, but we need to make the same effort in terms of space. Space is like oceans, if it gets polluted too much, effect will be catastrophic, and this is why it is so good business. Governments will have to pay huge sums of money for research and development of technologies that may speed up process of cleaning our orbit, so if you ask me what your start up should be about, better find someone with engineering skills and get to work, because it is business of the future!
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