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News From The Future-5

NEWS FROM THE FUTURE – Swiss Satellites Clean Up Earth’s Orbit

The proliferation of debris orbiting the Earth – primarily jettisoned rocket and satellite components – is an increasingly pressing problem for spacecraft, and it can generate huge costs. To combat this scourge, the Swiss Space Center at EPFL is announcing today the launch of CleanSpace One, a project to develop and build the first installment of a family of satellites specially designed to clean up space debris.

The Earth’s orbit is full of all kinds of floating debris; a growing crowd of abandoned satellites, spent rocket stages, bits of broken spacecraft, and fragments from collisions are rocketing around the planet at breathtaking speeds. NASA keeps close tabs on at least 16,000 of these objects that are larger than 10 cm in diameter. When an operational spacecraft such as a satellite collides with one of them, serious, costly damage can result; often the satellite is complete destroyed. And the collision itself then generates thousands more fragments, further exacerbating the problem.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. Exxos says:

    I would hope that they could develop one that would be able to de-orbit multiple satellites though. Simply from an ecological standpoint, littering the planet with 13 satellites would be better than littering it with 24.

  2. Possibly the dumbest thing I’ve seen. The cost and ecological impact alone is immense to destroy…2 satellites? Wrong for so many reasons.

    If you are going to spend money to destroy satellites, boost swarmbots to high orbit. They should be paired, have propellent, a guidance system, a tip with glue, and a reel of high strength wire. they go on a seek and destroy raid, and do their best to attach themselves to items to entangle them and deorbit them.

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