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42 votes
Accepted

Why not use containers to clean up small space debris?

The problem is that every bit of space debris is in its own orbit. If you want to match that orbit, it takes a lot of fuel. If you don't do that, and you just intercept it, you will find that the ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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28 votes
Accepted

How dangerous is tossing equipment off the ISS?

tl;dr It's not dangerous or they don't do it. As you might expect, this gets studied to death before it happens. Anything planned to be jettisoned or deployed from the ISS or any ISS Visiting Vehicle ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
26 votes

Why not use containers to clean up small space debris?

Sweeping up space debris in orbit is a bit like sweeping up bullets in mid-air in the middle of a machine-gun fight, except the debris is probably moving faster (relative to the sweeper) than the ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
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20 votes
Accepted

Data on satellites and/or space junk

tl;dr: It looks like Hu et al (2022) (linked below) has done just that using catalogs of TLEs and the Python package Skyfield. Others have done similar but less thorough calculations - I think this ...
uhoh's user avatar
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14 votes
Accepted

Have any bits of a space mission ever collided with a planet or large moon (not Earth) that was not a target of the mission?

Yes https://scitechdaily.com/space-junk-just-crashed-into-the-far-side-of-the-moon-at-5800-mph/ A piece of space junk (China or spaceX) hit the far side of the moon
Catprog's user avatar
  • 434
8 votes
Accepted

Is the ESA's DELTA Stochastic?

I think the question in your title and the question posed in your body might have different answers. DELTA itself contains a stochastic process for collision prediction (see page 2) and so is ...
Erin Anne's user avatar
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7 votes
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Does earth orbiting debris that threatens the space station have a particular direction bias?

I guess I'm more or less the right person to answer this. The orbital debris threat to ISS is heavily concentrated into two lobes in the local horizontal plane, somewhere between 20 and 30 degrees to ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 17.3k
7 votes

Have any bits of a space mission ever collided with a planet or large moon (not Earth) that was not a target of the mission?

I do not think it has happened. (Note - when I wrote my answer, "Or large moon" was not part of the question. Space junk hitting the moon is not so surprising, although it is interesting - ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
  • 10.5k
6 votes

Have any bits of a space mission ever collided with a planet or large moon (not Earth) that was not a target of the mission?

The SpaceX Falcon 9 upper stage that launched NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory to a Sun-Earth LaGrange point in February 2015 did not have enough propellant remaining to return to burn up in the ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 9,142
5 votes

Have any bits of a space mission ever collided with a planet or large moon (not Earth) that was not a target of the mission?

or at least are there projections that it may happen? Yes there is! SpaceX's Elon Musk's goal of getting people to Mars is no secret, and the demonstration of Falcon Heavy put his old car on a ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes

Does earth orbiting debris that threatens the space station have a particular direction bias?

Since there are no other answers (and because I am unable to comment), I will try to give some information. Most rockets and therefore satellites launch in the direction of Earth's motion, that is, ...
Michael Bonnet's user avatar
4 votes

How much of what we see as “satellites” is space junk?

Very little Almost everything in orbit that can be seen with the naked eye is between 100 and 400 miles from Earth and bigger than 20 feet1. A relatively large satellite in a relatively low LEO. These ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 157
4 votes
Accepted

How beaten up would Voyager 1 be in 40,000 years?

As pointed out in a comment there are some pretty good answers contained in the related question about the Voyager Golden Records. And as pointed out in another comment, the computers will be long ...
Steve Pemberton's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

How much of the small (1 mm - 10 cm) LEO debris are electrically charged?

As uhoh mentioned, the answer to the question as asked is "all of it". However, to answer the "how"/"why" of the question as asked, ionizing radiation causes ionization, ...
Michael Bonnet's user avatar
3 votes

Why Isn't the ISS exclusion zone spherical?

Most of the risk to ISS comes from objects traveling at relatively similar orbital altitudes. Very little will approach ISS from below as objects doing so would in most cases have to originate from ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 9,142
2 votes

Calculation of collision probability based on TLE

I can agree to uhoh here, it is really hard pointing out why your calculations does not match the "correct results", not knowing the calculations nor the source of those "correct ...
Vlad Ilincăi's user avatar
1 vote

Who offers Conjunction Data Messages (CDM)

Seems like you had two questions: where to get CDMs, a further source is: https://www.eusst.eu/services/ CDMs from TLEs: basically useless, although it has been done by well-known satellite ...
CallMeTom's user avatar
  • 3,308
1 vote

Was the recent uncontrolled Chinese rocket de-orbit exceptional?

To summarize: While the US, much of Europe, and China have signed onto the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and 1972 Space Liability Convention if your property or person is damaged you would have to convince ...
GandalfDDI's user avatar
1 vote

How problematic is debris for Starship storage/depots?

The number of strikes will depend on vehicle orientation and specific orbit, mitigation will be by more than one method, the steel is already an improvement on thin aluminium, the addition of Whipple ...
Jon point of gold's user avatar
1 vote

What would the Venus landers look like today?

Many thanks to the contributors, fascinating reading. Something I don't see mentioned here: metal creep. I am drawing on engineering undergrad courses in materials science, crystallography, etc. from ...
Shawn Charland's user avatar

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