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Given decades of orbital space launches around the world for whatever reason, there are now massive constellations of many hundreds of thousands of pieces of cast-off hardware and fragments of hardware whose orbits have not yet decayed to the point of atmospheric destruction. Most of the larger of these objects are currently tracked by U.S. military and other space agencies, so that their paths will not significantly interfere with or jeopardize future or existing missions. Is there any plan, however, to begin, via controlled or autonomous 'collection', to intercept and reliably eliminate (decelerate them to a faster demise, etc.) the larger of these known objects (deceased satellites, spent maneuvering vehicles, remains of larger lift stages, etc.), or even somehow to entrap the smaller of them, at some point, and thus make orbital space at multiple ranges less hazardous?

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  • $\begingroup$ There is a plan to reduce the amount of debris being added (by making sure stages are deorbited, etc.). $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Jul 14 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ Someone needs to make it profitable to spend millions in rnd chasing space junk... unfortunately its not even profitable to remove earth junk with current technology. $\endgroup$ – Magic Octopus Urn Jul 19 at 21:47
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No, there's no plan. Tragedy of the commons.

ESA have trialed some solutions, with the RemoveDEBRIS mission.

The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society has some papers on the Necropolis system

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