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Questions tagged [debris]

Questions about debris in space, often in Earth orbit. Usually referring to nonoperational man-made satellites or parts of satellites.

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Temperature indicators/labels on space debris?

There was a picture in this question about space debris on shore. Seems to be a part of a Falcon 9. The round stickers are used for temperature control. Similar labels are sold by some companies, for ...
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104 views

Wet space junk and flotsam washing up on shore, will it get worse, is there a plan to mitigate?

This comment links to this collectspace.com post: Three business executives vacationing (?) in the Bahamas came across part of a SpaceX Falcon 9 fairing that washed ashore. They shared their find ...
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How would blockchain be integrated into spaceflight? Have any methods been proposed yet?

Blockchain offers a way of keeping track of information such that its authenticity can be verified and it can not easily be falsified. In a space environment with an increasing number of both active ...
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Can objects be deorbited by a satellite using a magnetic field?

Can a magnetic field be made around a satellite for a split second to gain or loose momentum from another satellite or debris with a few passes with a near-miss trajectories on larger debris? Could a ...
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How was “toolbag-sat” imaged in space? (from Scott Manley's video)

In Scott Manley's video Could An Astronaut Throw Something From Orbit To Earth? at about 02:00 he includes a sequence of images that shows the famous tool bag that ...
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48 views

Explosion at the launch pad and safe distance from it

As the rocket explodes at the launch pad, heat wave, sound wave and debris spread around the launch pad. So in case How the safe zone is determined in the case of explosion of the rocket at launch ...
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1answer
913 views

Debris breaking away from Electron rocket [duplicate]

In this youtube video of Rocket Lab's Electron rocket launch we can see some debris breaking from the rocket. Besides the ice, there seems to be some sort of a black square-ish structure to the left ...
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4answers
12k views

Is Nibiru real or totally science fiction?

I have seen lots of YouTube video stating about Nibiru. They say, that Nibiru is approaching earth. Few of the video claims that space maps (Google's) hide this Nibiru with a black patch. A few years ...
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What is optimum data interval algorithm for Orbit Determination?

I am trying to find Optimum data interval algorithm for orbit determination. Because in Leo, Geo orbit updates the measurement data can be different so that I want to implement an optimum data ...
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3answers
214 views

How would a laser “shoot down” space junk?

This question links to an article describing a ground-based laser designed for shooting down orbiting space debris: "The scientists intend to use the massive soon-to-be-built telescope at the Altay ...
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1answer
377 views

Propagation of pressure waves in Low Earth orbit

So in a Wikipedia article about space debris i read that---- At higher altitudes, where air drag is less significant, orbital decay takes longer. Slight atmospheric drag, lunar perturbations, ...
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4answers
4k views

What would be the first noticeable consequences to the general public of widespread satellite destruction?

What would most likely be the first thing I, as an average citizen of a developed nation, notice, if within a matter of hours, all major commercial and government satellites were to be destroyed in a ...
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198 views

Is there a database for space junk beyond Earth orbit, and is Roadster in it?

After a bit of low drama I've come to accept that Roadster is space junk and agree with this answer. After reading this answer about space junk in orbit around Earth, I'd like to ask if there is a ...
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1answer
3k views

What is the biggest piece of space junk?

What is the biggest of space junk in orbit? What was it used for and is there a picture? Source: Wikipedia
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1answer
89 views

How are meteoroids, asteroids and debris in space tracked?

How far, small, and fast can meteors be detected?
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78 views

What information exactly was necessary to determine and announce this “debris causing event”?

A 1:53 PM - 19 Jul 2016 tweet from the twitter account @18SPCS said: 19 Jul: JSpOC ID’d debris causing event related to @DigitalGlobe WorldView-2; 8 debris pieces but WV2 confirmed operational &...
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2answers
289 views

Harpooning satellites? Is this really the best way to get them under control?

Harpoons are effective when the target is out of reach, or moving too quickly to catch. Neither is generally true when one spacecraft maneuvers near another in Earth orbit. Getting close enough in ...
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1answer
125 views

Are certain altitudes reserved for an orbit direction to limit the possibility of collision?

Are certain altitudes above Earth reserved (or commonly selected) to limit possibility of collision between objects travelling in prograde, retrograde and polar orbits? Like a one way street, if ...
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2answers
369 views

Is there any regulation against sending stuff to space that you don't need there, like the Tesla roadster?

Is there any regulation (or self-regulation) that would force space explorers to create as little debris as possible? The Tesla roadster in space seems to be only a PR-gag.
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2answers
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Is docking satelites an option?

If we dock satellites together we can then have big satellite stations on different orbits that will be serviceable. Is this possible, and what are some implications of doing so? For example, can ...
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6answers
24k views

Is the SpaceX Falcon Heavy payload (a Tesla car) space junk?

Yesterday SpaceX succeeded in the first Falcon Heavy launch, but the payload, a Tesla car has no real useful purpose (except for company prestige). Thus, can it be considered as space junk ? How long ...
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1answer
504 views

is space-track.org a free service?

Is the website space-track.org a free service ? If not can someone give other free website to track space debris.
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1answer
95 views

If a cube or micro satellite could collect 1-2 cm space debris in Earth orbit could they be deorbited while raising the sats orbit?

A lot of space debris on LEO are small 1 to 2 cm pieces. Removing these threats is a concern to anyone using LEO. Can a cube/micro satellite use collected small debris and propel them to both ...
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1answer
143 views

What are the white dots traveling fast in this video?

In this impressive video, between 40s and one minute, one can see white "dots" traveling very fast. What are these? My guess is that the separation with the payload is done thanks to pyrotechnic ...
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1answer
387 views

What will J002E3 be like on its return?

J002E3 is believed to be the S-IVB third stage of the Apollo 12 rocket. It is expected to return to temporary Earth orbit in the 2040's. If some enterprising soul decided to build a rocket capable ...
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1answer
502 views

What's this chunk that fell off Falcon 9 second stage?

Just after T+3 minutes during today's SES-11 launch I noticed a small chunk fall off the end of a "boom" on the Falcon 9 second stage. What's the boom and what came ...
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1answer
119 views

How long does the upper stage stay in orbit if the payload is released on GTO?

A launcher upper stage may not stay in orbit for long, as it does not need to go as high as the payload and thus travel at an altitude at which although it is thin, the atmosphere is still dense ...
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2answers
131 views

Would laser and beamed energy anti satellite weapons cause much space debris?

Laser and other beamed energy weapons, in orbit or from Earth, could potentially make their targets malfunction from overheating and perhaps even partial melting. Would this be a way of space warfare ...
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2answers
263 views

ISS impacts by space debris

Is there something that tracks the locations of space debris impacts, and how big the debris or damage is?
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2answers
128 views

Solar sail and debris shielding

If a space craft is to travel at 0.6 c, how must one design a protection system such that any and all debris collisions with the sail do not render it damaged for further use? Is it possible to employ ...
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3answers
366 views

What is the typical relative impact velocity of orbital debris in low Earth orbit?

We all know that space is about going really fast. We also know that what matters in a collision isn't really absolute speed, but relative velocity. (Two cars with matched speeds on a highway touching ...
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283 views

How can a paint fleck make a window bullseye?

This answer repeats the fact that something as small as a few micrometers in diameter can make a visible bullseye in a window in orbit. I heard it with respect to the space shuttle, and now they have ...
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4answers
8k views

Why would a box full of 1cm balls released into LEO be so scary to an engineer supporting the ISS? - (Updated)

update March 2018: I just saw this in Buzzfeed (Google sent me there, I don't normally read it): Rich People Will Soon Be Able To Buy Fake Meteor Showers On Demand. It seems this might happen in 2018. ...
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1answer
189 views

Master thesis - new research topics [closed]

I am studying Aerospace master and currently on the brim to pursue my master thesis. I would like our input on the new research trends that are going on in the space industry. I would like to do some ...
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2answers
118 views

How much of an issue is space junk going to be for future manned mars missions?

As far as I understand, a manned mission to mars would require an unprecedented amount of equipment, most of which would have to be pre-staged in LEO. How is space junk going to affect this? The ISS ...
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1answer
294 views

Why are deorbited satellites allowed a slow orbit decay instead of burning them up rapidly?

In "What are the conditions for re-entry of an object in a (highly) elliptical orbit?" Eerie asks about orbital mechanics of orbital decay of decommissioned satellite: starting with extremely ...
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3answers
2k views

What are the conditions for re-entry of an object in a (highly) elliptical orbit?

There's something I don't understand: When it comes to de-commissioned satellites, rocket bodies etc. I thought one way of re-entry was via a highly elliptical orbit: The perigee gets low enough (app....
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3answers
290 views

Could we prevent a disaster if someone tried to send a rocket in retrograde GEO?

Let's say an evil dictator decide to deliver a payload to a retrograde "GEO" orbit. I suspect the first inevitable collision would quickly produce a Kessler syndrome. Is there anything that would ...
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1answer
817 views

What happens to the last stage of rockets?

When launching stuff into earth orbit like satellites for example often the last stage will perform the burn to achieve stable orbit and will then be jettisoned. So now we have a rocket stage in ...
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137 views

How to clear the way for a space elevator?

In the answer to this question about space elevators, the poster mentioned that the elevator cable would pass through a debris cloud as it moved through lower orbits. I presume most of that material ...
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1answer
251 views

Deorbit LEO debris with a higher orbit laser?

A couple of days ago I asked Can a laser be used to clear the launch path of a rocket? turns out this is not a good plan but the answer by Hobbes suggests the idea of clearing debris with a laser is ...
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3answers
3k views

Flung debris in lunar landing

When a spacecraft lands on the moon, on unprepared ground, it must fling a lot of rocks and dust all around. If you are building a lunar base, the other components that are already there would be ...
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2answers
2k views

Are most Earth polar satellites launched to the South or to the North? And why?

Almost all satellites in LEO have been launched to the east, to take advantage of the Earth's surface rotational speed of about 5% of required orbital speed (Israel being a small exception for ...
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227 views

How can space junk be dangerous at geosynchronous orbits?

At this orbit wouldn't all space junk be traveling at the same speed as the spaceship/satellite transversing it? To be dangerous it should be traveling at a much faster (or slower) rate than the ...
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3answers
192 views

When and how will the Chinese spacestation reenter? [duplicate]

China's first space station Tiangong-1 is expected to deorbit in late 2017. Are NASA or others tracking it? What is its position and condition at present time?
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1answer
101 views

Impact shielding and damage control of a manned Interplanetary spacecraft [closed]

We've all seen pictures of micrometeorite and debris damage, and we've all heard the wisdom that at orbital speeds a paint chip is more lethal than a rifle round. We also know that having holes ...
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2answers
170 views

Angle of meteoroid and debris strikes on ISS

Is it more likely for a space station like the ISS to suffer micro meteor and space debris strikes on the forward side as oppose to others? (it certainly seems less likely to get them on the underside....
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43 views

What systems or technologies are developed to protect ISS from space debris? [duplicate]

What kind of systems or technology is developed for ISS (International Space Station)? There are so many debris at higher orbits than ISS, but many of them has started deorbiting so we have a ...
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1answer
177 views

Why do (did) they think WT1190F is low density?

A piece of space debris WT1190F is in the news in part because it has been far from earth (farther than lunar distance) in the past but will should have already re-enter earth's atmosphere in a few ...
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Do things get dirty in space?

I'm writing a computer game involving space exploration, where the player will come across space ships/stations that are hundreds/thousands/tens of thousands of years old. I'm also trying to make it ...