How would 2 or more satellites be joined to reduce atmospheric drag? Could a 3rd satellite tow and join 2 or more satellites that are in similar orbits to prevent Kessler syndrome?

At the very least could the inert satellites in be collected and connected into a cluster loosely welded together by a third satellite?

From Comments The picture looks like a cage which is magnetized to collect satellites no longer in service.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Necropolis $\endgroup$ – user20636 Apr 29 '19 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @JCRM good find! This would make a good answer. $\endgroup$ – Muze Apr 29 '19 at 21:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A cage which is magnetized to collect satellites would not work, satellites contain very few iron, too few to be attracted by magnetic fields. Light materials like aluminium alloys are prefered. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Apr 29 '19 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe maybe just wire and lasso it? $\endgroup$ – Muze Apr 29 '19 at 21:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm sure I've referenced this paper in an earlier answer in this stack. The paper suggests several methods for attaching the satellites recovered, I don't recall magnetism being one of them. $\endgroup$ – user20636 Apr 29 '19 at 23:50

Possible but unlikely.

If you want to join satellites securely than you need to add some kind of docking mechanism to the satellites and that adds a lot of complexity at which point you can just have thrusters to dodge debris or counteract the drag.

Additionally I think having more satellites bunched up in one area means that if a collision happens there will only be more mass to contribute to space debris or a Kessler syndrome.

The same goes for inactive satellites as a deorbiting maneuver (or a transit to a graveyard orbit) would be an easier and better way to deal with inert satellites.

There are even mission from ESA clean space to actively remove satellites from orbit.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.