Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Space Junk to Triple by 2030 via Boing Boing reports that satellite communications may be in critical jeopardy due to space junk that will triple in 2030. With well over 50 countries participating in space ventures the amount of debris has risen geometrically. A new euphemism has entered the lexicon - Percussive decommissioning. Which we have seen evidence of in the past when a satellite quite literally is taken out of service by impacts from orbital debris.

The situation is soon to degrade so badly that many of the choice high altitude orbits will become unusable and satellites will have to park in lower much less optimal orbits and relay signals to other low flying satellites. calls this: an "abandon in place" posture for certain orbital altitudes.

20,000 pieces of debris are now being tracked, many experts agree that a triple of this amount by 2030 is not unreasonable. Some of the increase can be attributed to more sensitive detectors but that still leaves a sizable increase over the intervening years. Add to that objects that are too small to track but at orbital speeds are every bit a lethal. Estimates range upwards of 10 times as many objects that can not be detected. (that's almost a quarter of a million bits - kiddies)

When asked if the Air Force was funding any projects to deal with debris, Gen. William Shelton, commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Command said:
  • We haven’t found a way yet that is affordable and gives us any hope for mitigating space debris. The best we can do, we believe, is to minimize debris as we go forward with our operations. As we think about how we launch things, as we deploy satellites, minimizing debris is absolutely essential
Read complete article here


John said...

We need the Mega Maid from Spaceballs.... May the schwartz be with us.

Beam Me Up said...