The European Space Agency commissioned a junk disposal mission called Clearspace in December ( ESA commissions world’s first space debris removal) and the first in-space satellite servicing mission, MEV-1 is on its way to save an Intelsat satellite that is low on fuel, after an October launch ( First-of-Its-Kind Satellite Servicing Spacecraft Launches on Russian Rocket).The addition of "drone" type mini satellites that would perform as tow trucks and garbage trucks should be showing up any day now. This would expand the space business to companies with no interest in their vehicles doing anything but clean up work, thus expanding the space business beyond "space" companies. While everyone is waiting for the heavyweight manned space launches that never seem to happen, the lightweight division is growing by leaps and bounds, far exceeding expectations.
Interestingly, I've just finished running a two day workshop in Cologne to establish "the rules of the road" for space. Or, at least, the European perspective on this, to complement the activity already being done by CONFERS. The European activity is incorporating views from the lawyers, insurers, developers, operators, etc to derive a consensus for how we do things in space.Unlike the traditional exploration motive, the commercialization of space has no principles except generating profit for shareholders.
It may be couched in futuristic language and promises of a better life, but it's all just the same ole' dirty short term greed. Imo
We can see it happening, but seem powerless to nip it in the bud. If Musk was sending tens of thousands of disposable mini robots into Antarctica, as essentially a vanity project with no real benefit to anyone, there'd be international outcry?
Oh ... sure -- like how the rich guys carve it up amongst themselves?The European activity is incorporating views from the lawyers, insurers, developers, operators, etc to derive a consensus for how we do things in space.
Yes it's relevant. The lack of a space treaty doesn't mean it's fine to pollute the space around our common world, while international apparatchiks stay in fancy international hotels and waffle, waffle for years.Your point about Antarctica would presumably be covered by the Antarctica treaty, so I'm not sure it's a relevant analogy.
You don't seem to have any sense of urgency, now do you?This is a really complex subject, and it's going to take us a few years to get this right
Unfair to who?but I think it's very unfair to say that the commercialisation of space is being done with no principles.
Please write this in common English that people can understand.The WEF has already floated the idea of a Space Sustainability Rating, and it's an idea that my project may run with, as it will help to establish common consensus about risks for insurers and lawyers in terms they can understand.
So, like the advertising slogans could be better?Funnily enough, the "futuristic language" you mention isn't really true. The problem is that the language isn't futuristic enough.
Which is just what I said, but not laws not written by industry to police itself.Space law lags behind the evolution of the technology (in some respects) and for the new space markets to become governable it seems to make sense to develop international standards, overarching international agreements (that stitch together international treaties with new laws governing, for example, authorisation for space actions), and technology maturation (through IODs etc) to develop new "rules for the road."
While you stall and play games to buy time to clutter space with cheap junk for your own profit?It will take some time.
Waffle, waffle ...My team will be meeting with CONFERS in Brussels in March to understand the US perspective on this and formulate a way in which we can work collaboratively.
Thanks, I feel very reassured.After all, space is a market in which the world needs to be able to collaborate as there are very few nations (or companies) who can do it all by themselves.
I don't work for a private company, I work for the UK space agency, which is part of government. CONFERS is funded by US Government.While you stall and play games to buy time to clutter space with cheap junk for your own profit?
I would like some clarification too!The WEF has already floated the idea of a Space Sustainability Rating, and it's an idea that my project may run with, as it will help to establish common consensus about risks for insurers and lawyers in terms they can understand.
That's cause it's not in the vocabulary anymore. Common usage rules.The proper understanding of the word 'limit' seems hard to get.
Bolding mine - I think that's the key if, rate of accumulation.That's a 5,000 pound tow truck towing a 10,000 pound satellite. Apparently they are still working out the plan of action as the tow vehicle has to stay with the disabled satellite for 5 years after it moves it and there is no assigned parking for them yet. After it is totally retired, then the tow can pick up another disabled satellite. Sounds like valet parking where the attendant stays with vehicle the whole time. Not quite what I envisioned, seems more like a mobile anchor.
Before the population numbers really explode, the total number of orbiting satellites is around 4,500. Only 1,500 of them are operational. That does not include all the stuff that has broken off of them, like solar panel debris and other devices located outside of the main body subject to stress.
The new biggest yet until tomorrow satellites weigh 10,000 to 15,000 pounds. 5,000 to 10,000 being the old limit. As the number of small satellites increases so does the tonnage of the big ones. Seems like there is going to be a lot of stuff towing a lot of stuff that died on the job before they could be retired. Unless they make a corral to hold all the dead satellites in one place. Sounds like dumping in the ocean when it was thought it was a bottomless pit. It could prove profitable to pick stuff off the top of the dead zone but the farther in you went the more armor you would likely need.
While it is physically safe to let the satellites fall back into Earth orbit because it all gets vaporized, the contents of those vapors are anything but safe. Each satellite that burns up is seeding the upper atmosphere with all kinds of elements. Since they are at the low end of the upper atmosphere the gravity is pulling the vaporized contents towards the Earth. It can then take its time to disperse and hang in the lower upper atmosphere forming a new layer with definite ionic properties. If the layer gets thick enough, it could minimally block the sunlight and lower the surface temperature. You want the layer to be transparent yet have some kind of blocking ability and the volume of material over the volume of space it would occupy would make that happen. People are already thinking about doing this to cool the planet by pumping who knows what up there.
The flip side is the material continues to fall to Earth and gets mixed into the rain, making a fierce antibiological spray. People use to think that after the Earth passed through a comet's tail, it wasn't a good idea to be outdoors. They can result in meteor showers so there is a grain of truth to the matter. With the satellites seeding the atmosphere it might be easier to get hit by metallic rain that it is to get hit by a 4 billion year old pebble.
Precisely so IMHO. But physics isn't hiding that - physicists and engineers can tell people today that that is how things are. The question is who listens? What scares me is human beings who act, and talk, as though the laws of physics will make an exception for them - as if their national identity is more than a merely human conceit, or their personal ambitions more than the goals of an tiny and flawed creature.And so it goes... 60 more Star Links were launched today.
The sky is not infinite...
... think if Physics is the cop, I would expect that our lives have no value in the equation, except to be the icing on Schrodinger's cake.
I apologise if I have been unfair. It's obviously not an easy thing to set up enforceable parameters and so it is important that people like yourself are trying to do something, imoApologies, I probably used too much jargon in my post. I'll explain in a later post, as I have a flight to catch right now, but a quick clarification...
I don't work for a private company, I work for the UK space agency, which is part of government. CONFERS is funded by US Government.
I think it is going to turn out that every bit counts.20,000,000 tons of SO2 into the stratosphere