Questions tagged [debris]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
5
votes
1answer
65 views

Does a published account of the economics of Russian debris shipbreaking exist?

Most Soviet and Russian rockets are/were launched from an inland site, and spent booster stages crash on the ground in sparsely populated (and frequently impoverished) rural areas. Since the fall of ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

How is 'space junk' monitored pre-launches and when picking satellite orbits?

There is a bunch of junk orbiting right outside the atmosphere of the Earth, an issue that gets addressed more and more as space travel develops. How do they monitor the movement of these to avoid so ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Implementation of NASA Breakup model Area to Mass distribution

In the research "NASA's new breakup model of evolve 4.0" the implementation for the area to mass distribution of fragments produced by collisions and explosions is provided. The distribution ...
5
votes
1answer
103 views

Do space organisations take the positions of space junk and satellites into account when launching?

There are so many satellites orbiting Earth now at various altitudes and there is quite a lot of space junk floating around as well. Now although there are so many satellites and so much junk up ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

Interplanetary space mission debris orbits

I was wondering if anyone knew about a database of orbits for debris from previous interplanetary space missions. I am referring to debris or expired missions by NASA, ESA, JAXA, etc. I know there are ...
4
votes
2answers
213 views

Is it realistic to assume the Chinese Long March 5b “just missed New York”?

The Chinese successfully launched a Long March 5b... that apparently fell off the West Coast of Africa On Monday, a massive, out-of-control Chinese rocket fell out of the sky off the west coast of ...
4
votes
0answers
154 views

How do the Dynetics-led team's ALPACA lander's “drop tanks” rendezvous and jettison work in terms of trajectories?

Ars Technica's NASA awards lunar lander contracts to Blue Origin, Dynetics—and Starship says: NASA announced Thursday that it has awarded three contracts to begin initial development of lunar ...
4
votes
1answer
751 views

How does a space vehicle which carries Curiosity or Spirit rover reach a planet? [closed]

I don't know much science but was curious about it. So, what I've seen in movies is that there are lot of objects in the space and many other space items (made of rocks, moving stars etc.). So when ...
2
votes
0answers
83 views

Where can I find a satellite/space debris database with object masses

The title pretty much says it all. As far as I can tell the default method by which space debris objects are tracked/stored in a database is using two line element sets. However these have no way to ...
3
votes
1answer
166 views

Why is “Terminator Tape” electrically conductive?

A 230 foot long tape deployed from the satellite Prox-1 greatly reduced how long it took to deorbit. The tape was described as electrically conductive. Was that property intended to help the ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

Why aren't there any active space debris removal systems implemented currently?

As of July 2013, estimates of more than 170 million debris smaller than 1 cm (0.4 in), about 670,000 debris 1–10 cm, and approximately 29,000 larger pieces of debris are in orbit. Space debris poses ...
4
votes
0answers
198 views

What is the mysterious object flying by in this SpaceX video?

In the last second of this video tweeted by spaceX, you can see an object fly by on screen. Did this come from the SpaceX ship, or is it foreign space junk? If it turns out to be the latter, is that a ...
2
votes
0answers
43 views

Determine if two orbits cross paths

I'm trying to determine which orbital object will have the most close calls with another object. I've gotten the full TLE catalog from Space-Track.org, and using poliastro python package have ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

How fast is space debris travelling? [duplicate]

How fast is orbital debris travelling? I believe the speeds would vary based on the debris size, so what would be the range of velocities in that case?
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Could ejecta from asteroid Bennu enter into temporary orbit around it? If so, how?

The New York Times article The Asteroid Was Shooting Rocks Into Space. ‘Were We Safe in Orbit?’ mentions concerns about material ejected from the Bennu entering temporary orbit around the asteroid ...
3
votes
1answer
101 views

What exactly is SL-24 DEB (2010-028D)?

After 3 months of work I've been able to spot satellite debris with my 20x80 binoculars for the first time. The object in question is SL-24 DEB (2010-028D). According to the data presented in www.in-...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Space Debris and Megaconstellations: plans for ~1000kms altitude orbits

SpaceX's Starlink and other mega-constellation plans highlight safe de-orbiting features but does this also extend to altitudes higher than 1,000 kms? My concern is whether these smaller sats will ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

How to identify an object in orbit last night?

I saw an object last night (November 24, 2019) in the sky that was rather unusual and am curious about what it might have been. It had the luminosity and speed of movement across the sky (generally ...
33
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the largest piece of space debris volumetrically?

What is the largest piece of space debris currently in Earth orbit by volume? Space debris is not limited to defunct satellites, but also includes things like spent upper stages. Bonus points for ...
2
votes
1answer
195 views

SpaceX's Starlink and astronomy

I was reading articles about Starlink and some concerned astronomers that SpaceX Starlink will lead to more space junk and eventually the death of ground based astronomy. I am just wondering how ...
6
votes
1answer
200 views

What would the Voyager probes look like today?

In the 40+ years since their launching, after traveling through the solar system and now beyond, what would the Voyager probes look like today if we could see them up close? Would they look noticeably ...
0
votes
1answer
103 views

Could 2 space ships traveling at different time pass through the same space?

This question flows from the recent question Would rocket engine exhaust create pockets of gas in space which could hinder further space exploration? it talks about daily Earth - Moon trips If we ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Could any “Well-Tracked Analyst Object” turn out to be a natural object or even something else?

The excellent satellite tracking database www.space-track.org, which is mantained by the United States Space Command, offers to the public accurate and up-to-date orbital elements for thousands of ...
3
votes
1answer
214 views

Would Kessler Syndrome feasibly get bad enough to prevent punching through to higher orbits?

(Related: How expensive would it be to make a spacecraft that can survive leaving an Earth suffering from Kessler Syndrome?) Kessler Syndrome is a theoretical scenario in which the density of objects ...
5
votes
1answer
157 views

Piece of debris in Venera 13 surface photos

(Source: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum) In the Venera 13 Surface photo there is a piece of debris visible (the big thing slightly left of center). It looks like a sort cover, but maybe ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

When would it be feasible to recycle the satellites in graveyard orbit?

How feasible would it be to move the ISS to the surface of the Moon to recycle its components in future? I don't want to take them to the moon. I'm thinking of a manufacturing/recycling center ...
39
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it possible to observe space debris with Binoculars?

Recently I've started to observe satellites with my 20x80 Binoculars. I'm amazed by the fact I can clearly track satellites and rocket bodies at 2000 km altitude (I've reached 8 mag with some objects) ...
1
vote
0answers
95 views

Calculation of collision probability based on TLE

I have to calculate the probability of collision at moment $t$ with space debris. I am using JSPOC algorythm described in https://www.space-track.org/documents/...
2
votes
1answer
164 views

Regulation in space, debris and end of life considerations

Is it time to 'loosely' regulate space exploration? With the boom thanks to the CubeSat revolution, the number of space objects is increasing rapidly. With almost minimal debris or end of life ...
1
vote
0answers
47 views

Which space debris are used for science purpose?

I already know that some Apollo's space debris were used for seismic study of the Moon. Other debris may be used for scientific studies. By debris, I mean space objects that have no purpose or ...
3
votes
1answer
54 views

What is the latest plan to ameliorate the largest drifts of orbital space debris?

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
152 views

Would SpaceX's Starlink constellation contribute inordinately to space debris?

I mean they already launched a large constellation of 60 satellites and have plans to launch many more; won't all this contribute inordinately to existing space junk, which is actually becoming a real ...
5
votes
1answer
520 views

What are these four “debris” objects along with the Starlink satellites?

Celestrak has an updated system of categories for retrieving lists of current TLEs, and there's already one for Starlink, yay! Currently https://www.celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/starlink.txt contains ...
2
votes
1answer
95 views

Impact of Constellations on Space Debris and Launch Windows

With the decline of massive GEO satellites and a big increase in smallsat and cubesat, especially those in constellations, I wonder what their impact is on space debris. Those smaller satellites do ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

Is it possible to remove space junk using magnets? [duplicate]

I have heard that the earth is surrounded with tiny bits of "space junk". I was wondering, why not send a large magnet into orbit and collect all the junk? And by time the magnet is covered with ...
4
votes
1answer
273 views

How will Starlink satellites be capable of tracking on-orbit debris and autonomously avoiding collision?

The press kit for the first Falcon 9 Starlink launch and deployment of the first 60 satllites scheduled for May 15, 2019 says: Starlink satellites are capable of tracking on-orbit debris and ...
7
votes
1answer
169 views

What is a “critical mass” equivalent of number of satellites on LEO that would initiate chain reaction of destruction if 2 of them collide?

If a satellite is destroyed and blown to multiple small pieces of debris, each one of these pieces has tiny probability of destroying another satellite, creating more debris which now will have even ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

Listing objects and space probes beyond Earth orbit in Space Track?

Can anyone tell me how to query Space Track to list objects that are beyond Earth orbit. I am thinking of things such as the Voyagers, the Tesla Roadster and Pioneer, as examples? While there is a ...
2
votes
2answers
152 views

Do the velocities of orbital debris have a bias in the direction of Earth's rotation?

Most spacecraft are launched and orbit prograde -- in the same direction that the Earth rotates -- to give a "speed boost" to get to orbital velocity. One would therefore expect that the trajectories ...
18
votes
2answers
4k views

Should man-made satellites feature an intelligent inverted “cow catcher”?

Disclaimer: I have no formal education in science. Also, I'm a dummy! Locomotives usually feature a shield that deflects objects on a train's track. My understanding is that since satellites ...
4
votes
2answers
156 views

How many spy satellites could be destroyed before the debris field would be too massive to launch moon or mars manned missions?

Obviously this is very statistical. Basically I'm looking for an order of magnitude. One geostationary satellite would cause a pinball effect or would it be more like 10 satellites? I'm concerned ...
1
vote
1answer
159 views

Why does this satellite collision debris field look like a big “X”?

This answer to the question Whats the protocol if two satellites collide? shows the image below, and I don't understand the shape. I would have expected two "jets" of debris, each projecting roughly ...
2
votes
1answer
261 views

How far did Hayabusa-2 back off before the “bomb” went off?

The BBC News article Hayabusa-2: Japanese probe set to 'bomb' an asteroid says: The charge is carried on the Small Carry-On Impactor (SCI) device. This is a 14kg conical container attached to ...
14
votes
1answer
270 views

How does the US's 2008 debris cloud compare to India's 2019 and China's 2007 contributions?

The NPR News article NASA: Debris From India's Anti-Satellite Test Raised Threat To Space Station discusses last week's antisatellite test by India described further in answers to India just shot down ...
4
votes
3answers
101 views

Alternative tests for A-SAT missiles

Keeping the strategic consequences of blowing up an actual satellite as technology demonstration aside, I want to assess it from a purely scientific/technological standpoint. To demonstrate the ...
34
votes
5answers
8k views

India just shot down a satellite from the ground. At what altitude range is the resulting debris field?

This tweet from India's prime minister Narendra Modi says: मेरे प्यारे देशवासियों, आज सवेरे लगभग 11.45 - 12.00 बजे मैं एक महत्वपूर्ण संदेश लेकर आप के बीच आऊँगा। I would be addressing the nation at ...
3
votes
2answers
114 views

Would communication with Houston still be possible in a LEO debris cascade?

In the film Gravity (2013), the astronauts on STS-157 & the ISS lose communications with mission control in Houston, supposedly due to the chain reaction of debris collisions taking out ...
2
votes
2answers
724 views

How do satellites remain safe from space debris and meteorites?

Since space is not that clean, always there is a chance to hit by an asteroid / meteor. So how can satellites remain safe orbiting Earth?
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Can small asteroids in the asteroid belt be detected on the fly and how much of a threat do they represent for a human manned space mission there?

Supposedly there are between 1.1 to 1.9 millions asteroids larger than 1 km in the asteroid belt. I assume there are many more , a lot of smaller ones, which cant be detected from here. According to ...
6
votes
1answer
157 views

What are the effects of orbital reflectors and advertising on scientific observation?

There's a couple of startups and initiatives which are proposing "space billboards" which have been getting a lot of bad press recently. Most of the proposals involve a bunch of cubesats with large ...