Reducing the risk of space debris collision
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 19, 2020
As humanity expands its horizons beyond the Earth and begins to consider space missions with extended duration, sustainability necessitates the launch of more space vehicles, increasing the risk of collision with existing space debris. One method of clearing this debris involves a tug vehicle dragging it to a safe region.
In a new paper published in EPJ Special Topics, authors Antonio Delson Conceicao de Jesus and Gabriel Luiz F. Santos, both from the State University of Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil, model the complex rendezvous manoeuvres a tug vehicle clearing space debris would have to undergo to mitigate the risk of a collision that could cause irreparable damage at the moment of coupling.
As the authors point out, space missions occur in an environment populated by around 3,600 man-made satellites, of which under a third are operational. The non-operational units are subject to leakage, explosions and fragmentation further littering the region around the Earth - especially at Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). A botched collision could not only result in irreparable damage, but also the creation of more space debris that could hamper further missions. This makes towing operations to clear this debris desirable, but dangerous.
The duo studied the use of propulsion systems to control the objects' relative velocities and positions in a rendezvous manoeuvre performed around the Earth. Such operations require that tow vehicle and the debris have null velocities and relative position at the moment of connection.
Examining the parameters of these operations through the solutions of a multivariable tensor equation, de Jesus and Santos found that encounter manoeuvres of a space-debris towing vehicle can be implemented in minimal time and with a simultaneity that arises from bringing the velocity and relative final positions of the two objects to zero at the same instant.
The successful connection between objects in space can, of course, be applied in more scenarios than just the shifting of space debris. Connecting vehicles could become a vital part of the development of a sustainable long-term space mission.
Using sunlight to save satellites from a fate of 'space junk'
West Lafayette IN (SPX) Jun 17, 2020
No satellite stays the same once launched into space. How much it changes can go unnoticed - until something bad happens. Carolin Frueh is among only a handful of researchers who have persisted in using a complex technique that can diagnose a problem from thousands of miles away based on how the satellite reflects sunlight. "While you're driving a car, you can't get out of the car to check if something has fallen off or gotten damaged. But you know that there might be a problem," said Frueh ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.