Author Topic: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?  (Read 17188 times)

Offline saliva_sweet

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #60 on: 02/08/2017 06:05 PM »
Would it be possible to use space debris as reaction mass in a plasma thruster? Wouldn't need high isp or thrust. Take a chunk of debris and blast it with a bunch of lasers and arc welders to make plasma, accelerate the plasma. Use it to bring big stuff to faster decaying orbits and move to next object. Or just eat up the whole piece of debris altogether.

Offline CameronD

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #61 on: 02/09/2017 02:37 AM »
In case anyone was wondering, a solution to this problem was found in the '70s:



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark_(TV_series)

LOL. I loved that show.  :)
« Last Edit: 02/09/2017 02:38 AM by CameronD »
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #62 on: 08/26/2017 07:28 AM »
In case anyone was wondering, a solution to this problem was found in the '70s:


LOL. I loved that show.  :)

That's sort of the image people have of this but IRL the trouble comes from the micro meteroids. The big stuff you can mostly avoid.

Unfortunately the "big stuff" IE anything visible on ground based radar, is already a couple of million objects. That's anything > 10cm

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/laboratories/hypervelocity/mmod.html

Look at some of this stuff. Literally chips of paint and flecks of Aluminum. But between this and the radar visibility limit there's a world of "stuff." Even something with a fairly low delta v. A hit from a bolt with a delta v of "only" a few hundred m/s would feel remarkably like being shot with a .45 hand gun.  :(

That said if you can approach them with a low enough delta v you could probably put them in a lightweight bag until you get enough of them to make de-orbiting the bag so it burns up worthwhile.

The trouble is any system that does this has do be able to
a)Cover a large volume of space, either on its own or part of a team of such "sweepers"
b)Be very cheap per item. The number of items that can be ground radar tracked is a million+.

I don't think anyone has any clear idea of what the density of sub 10cm sized objects is on orbit. This definitely sounds like for a cubesat mounted lidar to map the debris on orbit.
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Offline gospacex

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #63 on: 08/26/2017 12:52 PM »
I favor dedicated large-area satellites in retrograde orbits as a solution to small debris problem. "Sweep it up".

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #64 on: 08/26/2017 07:07 PM »
I favor dedicated large-area satellites in retrograde orbits as a solution to small debris problem. "Sweep it up".
Let me suggest that this is more the level of technology that should be being used to handle this task.


https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/2-X-Strong-Garden-Bag-Waste-Refuse-Rubbish-Grass-Sack-Waterproof-Reusable-Large/1244753265?iid=371428185507
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline ppnl

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #65 on: 08/27/2017 12:05 AM »
I wonder if you could deorbit small objects with a cloud of ice crystals. Put a satellite in a retrograde orbit and have it fire ice as it crosses the orbit of other objects. 

Offline Comga

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #66 on: 08/27/2017 03:31 AM »
Please don't insult the intelligence of the professionals who consider this issue day in and day out.
There are many reasons all suggestions here are not feasible, either from technical or financial or diplomatic reasons, and sometimes all of the above.
Ice crystals sublimate.
"Retrograde orbits" hardly makes sense. Almost all are retrograde to something.
Gas clouds dissipate immediately
You can't get to low relative velocities with more than a tiny fraction of the stuff in 6 DoF orbits.
Some consider uncooperative grappling to be an anti-satellite technology
And it goes on and on.
(I actually tried proposing one of these. Came upon an immoveable roadblock quickly.)
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline saliva_sweet

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #67 on: 09/20/2017 08:32 PM »
Some consider uncooperative grappling to be an anti-satellite technology

Any space debris cleanup is an anti satellite technology by definition. Are you saying the whole concept and any discussion of it should be abandoned?

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #68 on: 09/20/2017 08:52 PM »
Please don't insult the intelligence of the professionals who consider this issue day in and day out.
There are many reasons all suggestions here are not feasible, either from technical or financial or diplomatic reasons, and sometimes all of the above.
Ice crystals sublimate.
"Retrograde orbits" hardly makes sense. Almost all are retrograde to something.
Gas clouds dissipate immediately
You can't get to low relative velocities with more than a tiny fraction of the stuff in 6 DoF orbits.
Some consider uncooperative grappling to be an anti-satellite technology
And it goes on and on.
(I actually tried proposing one of these. Came upon an immoveable roadblock quickly.)

Well, I for one disagree 100% with Comga about the idea that people shouldn't post their ideas.  Please, don't anyone let him discourage you from posting.

It's not an insult to other people's intelligence to discuss your ideas with an open mind.  Even if you post something that turns out to be impractical, that's OK, that's how people learn.  It's really the whole point of forums like this.

And, on the particular issue that Comga seems to be replying to (shooting a cloud of ice crystals), I don't think the fact that they sublimate automatically disqualifies the idea.  Of course they sublimate after some period of time, but in the window between being ejected and sublimating, they might be effective.

Probably impractical in the end, but worth further discussion, in my opinion.

Offline savuporo

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #69 on: 09/20/2017 09:10 PM »
I believe that the first step is to get some smart people together from all across the globe to work up a list that prioritizes objects for de-orbiting or other removal.  ...
This has been done, there are conferences and workshops all the time, coordinated by international bodies.
The consensus seems to be that biggest immediate wins in terms of mitigating hazards are in going after large pieces of debris, like spent upper stages etc.

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Offline savuporo

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #70 on: 09/23/2017 06:54 AM »
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Online AncientU

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #71 on: 02/19/2018 09:52 PM »
Good new article:
Quote
Maritime tradition can inform policy and law for commercial active debris removal
Quote
The urgency of active debris removal (ADR) of orbital debris is fueled by the dramatic increase expected in trackable and untrackable objects in orbits around the Earth within the next decade.

How to implement and pay for it:
Quote
The above sample scenarios would be unrealistic without a source of funding for developing and maintaining the technologies, rewards and bureaucratic systems, which will be needed. Where will the money come from?
...
As mentioned above, our modern way of life and our future space plans are being threatened by a space contamination known as orbital debris. One option for clearing away this debris, following the maritime analogy, is to employ commercial¬ space salvors and pay them rewards (“bounties,” if you will) for safely clearing debris from working orbits.
...
A fourth potential source of revenue, at least to help fund ADR in orbital regimes used by commercial satellites, could come from the end users of satellite services. Because the satellite service industry already generates more than $127 billion annually in gross revenues, a one cent per dollar fee on end-user bills would hardly be noticed by consumers. Yet such a fee would generate over $1 billion annually to help fund the cleanup in orbital bands used by commercial satellites.
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3434/1
« Last Edit: 02/19/2018 09:54 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: Orbital Debris Cleanup - how to?
« Reply #72 on: 02/28/2018 05:58 AM »
While I'm far more interested in figuring out how to contain and capture the solar wind, it would seem that similar techniques would work on debris.  Capturing protons moving at ~400 km/s is scifi, for now.  Paint flecks, and perhaps even whole satellites, moving at a few km/s might be an achievable target though.

The basic concept I am currently envisioning would launch a constellation of Dyson-Harrop satellites armed with 'paint guns', perhaps a modified ion drive that uses iron.  The satellites would create a magnetic bubble filled with 'paint'.  Debris then bonds with the 'paint', trapping the debris within the bubble.

I would continue but there are a lot of questions I don't yet know I need to ask.  Just finding answers to questions I know I need to ask is enough.

How can containment breaches be minimized?

What materials will work as a ferromagnetic paint?

How big of a magnetic bubble can be created?

Who is willing to pay for R&D?

I'm sure dozens of people have already had the same idea and discarded it for good cause.  What I can't find are useful discussions about the topic.  Any information that points me in the right direction is useful. 
If ZBLAN can't pay for commercial stations, we'll just have to keep looking until we find other products that can combine to support humans earning a living in space.

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