...the who's who,
and the what's what 
of the space industry

Space Careers

news Space News

Search News Archive

Title

Article text

Keyword

A world without access to space

Written by  Tuesday, 26 October 2021 08:33
Write a comment
Bethesda MD (SPX) Oct 25, 2021
Over the last several years we have been yelling and screaming about the existential threat of space debris on our ability to conduct space commerce, but the world is not listening. Instead, several organizations continue to add new spacecraft to the near-Earth space environment while totally ignoring the ultimate consequences. Just over the past 18 months the population of low-orbiting ac

Over the last several years we have been yelling and screaming about the existential threat of space debris on our ability to conduct space commerce, but the world is not listening. Instead, several organizations continue to add new spacecraft to the near-Earth space environment while totally ignoring the ultimate consequences.

Just over the past 18 months the population of low-orbiting active satellites has grown from 1,918 to several thousand. And, this is only the beginning of population growth, as more than 50,000 new satellites are in production and will be added to near-Earth space over the next few years.

So, what's the big deal? There are two problems. First the shear number of satellites to be added to already close orbits creates a nightmare traffic situation. Second, the 60+ years of accumulated junk and debris is filling all of near-Earth space and we cannot not see it, let alone do anything about it. But, we have simply ignored it.

Sometime in the near future, the mass and distribution of junk and active satellites will exceed the capacity of space to safely contain the debris generated by the addition of the 50,000+ new satellites into orbits that are already approaching gridlock. When this limit is reached our ability to travel in space may be greatly diminished.

When will this happen? No one knows the answer, but It could be soon. As more and more satellites are launched, the frequency of collision events will dramatically increase. After that, low-Earth orbits will begin to experience exponential collisions among the many old and new satellite constellations. After that, all space-related services may end.

Can remedial action wait until this gridlocking event starts? Spacefaring nations have two options: continue business as usual that could result in the total loss of space activities for decades, if not longer; or, initiate space sustainability programs that lead to control of the space-based debris population. Such a program would offer three essential operations:

+ Precisely tracks and projects the trajectories of all large resident space objects (RSO) such that active satellites can avoid close conjunctions.

+ Control the population of small-but-dangerous debris objects through active removal operations.

+ Manages space traffic of active satellites to maintain safe flight paths.

The "do nothing" option could result in the complete loss of the soon-to-be one-trillion-dollar annual space commerce revenue. The reopening of space would cost at least several hundred billion dollars and likely take decades to achieve. The second option would assure continued safe commerce but require a very complex program involving several new space systems and a multi-billion-dollar annual budget.

Unfortunately, the world economy cannot afford to do nothing. The real choice is to either pay for space sustainability now or pay much, much later.


Related Links
Launchspace Writers
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Tweet

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal



TECH SPACE
Starfish Space raises $7M to develop Space Tug
Kent WA (SPX) Sep 29, 2021
Starfish Space, a satellite servicing company founded by former Blue Origin engineers, has raised a $7M funding round co-led by NFX and MaC Venture Capital, with participation from PSL Ventures, Boost VC, Liquid2 Ventures, and Hypothesis. Up until now, missions to service existing satellites on-orbit, like the Hubble Space Telescope, have been too large and expensive to be commercially viable. But with the exciting and rapid evolution of the space industry increasing demand for on-orbit satellite ... read more


Read more from original source...

You must login to post a comment.
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR

* Denotes Required Field
Personal information
Message

Interested in Space?

Hit the buttons below to follow us...