We are committed to finding solutions to the Detritus Dilemma in Low Earth Orbit.

The growing amount of detritus in low Earth orbit is becoming an increasingly worrisome issue. From defunct satellites and spent rocket stages to tiny bits of shrapnel created by collisions, the amount of debris in orbit is increasing over time and could lead to collisions (creating even more space debris), posing a serious threat to space exploration in the future. It’s a major concern for those working in aerospace and space exploration.

Why is it a problem?

Detritus, or space debris objects, can range from a few millimetres to several meters in size and can travel at speeds of up to 28,000 kilometres per hour.

This accumulation of detritus in low Earth orbit poses a serious threat to both human and robotic space activities. Collisions with space debris can cause damage to satellites, space stations and spacecraft, leading to potential loss of communication, disruption of navigation and even catastrophic accidents. The risk of a collision increases with the number of objects in orbit, creating a cascading effect that could potentially generate even more debris.

The presence of detritus also affects the long-term sustainability of space activities, as it can limit future opportunities for space exploration and exploitation. The risk of collisions also hinders the development of space-based services, such as space tourism, remote sensing and communication.

Addressing the problem of space debris is critical to ensuring safe and sustainable space activities. Various solutions have been proposed – the challenge lies in selecting the most effective and feasible solution and implementing it in a timely manner.

Detritus in Low Earth Orbit

What are some possible solutions?

There are several proposed solutions to reduce the detritus in low Earth orbit, and some are more promising than others:

1. Space Debris Removal Missions: 

Several companies and organisations are working on missions to remove the debris from space. Some of these missions involve sending spacecraft with large nets or robotic arms to capture the debris and bring it back to Earth, while others propose using lasers to vaporise the debris. Although these methods have shown promising results in tests, they are still in the development stage and it’s uncertain how well they will work in the long run.

2. Space Traffic Management: 

Another possible solution is to regulate space traffic better. If we can reduce the number of objects in space, the chances of collisions would decrease significantly. Some ideas to accomplish this include better coordination of space launches and increasing communication between spacecraft.

3. Sustainable Satellite Design: 

Another way to tackle the problem is by designing satellites with more sustainability in mind. If satellites were built to be reusable, it would significantly reduce the number of objects in orbit, reducing the risk of collisions.

4. Controlled Satellite Decommissioning:

The space agencies could decommission old or defunct satellites that are creating debris in orbit. They could also establish rules and regulations to make sure that the decommissioned satellites are directed towards the Earth in a safe manner, avoiding collisions with other objects in space.

5. Space Tugs:

Space tugs are vehicles that are being designed to help move satellites to a different orbit or remove them entirely. These tugs will be remotely controlled from Earth and will extend the life of the satellite, reducing the need for new launches.

Overall, all of these proposed solutions have the potential to reduce the amount of debris in space and prevent collisions from happening. However, we need to choose the best solution, or a combination of them, to effectively tackle this problem.

How can we implement this solution?

Once we’ve determined the most effective solution to reducing detritus in low Earth orbit, the question arises: how can we implement it?

At present, SpaceAM is developing design concepts for a new way to recycle in low Earth orbit.

Once our patent is approved, it will require collaboration, resources, and investment. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to take action to preserve the health and safety of our planet’s orbital environment. Please revisit this page in the coming months for more information on this programme of work.

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