Author Topic: Cleaning up near earth space  (Read 34790 times)

Offline Spacenick

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #100 on: 04/10/2009 10:37 AM »
If lasers than I think they should be based on earth, that eliminates the cooling and power problems and makes them much cheaper they might even be converted from existing reasearch facilities.
Have you seen the huge block used to stop the beam of the LHC?
If we could send an LHC Proton beam into space with a very high precision I'm pretty sure it could deorbit debris as is.
The beam dump of the LHC  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beam_dump)
has to dissipate 362 MJ in 92 microseconds. If that wouldn't blow a satellite into vapor I don't know what will. So all we have to do is replace the LHC beam dump with a way of shooting the beam into space.
Make the elevation fixed but the azimuth changeable and there you have you super massive energy gun.

And the best thing is it wouldn't even be so expensive as it wouldn't stop the LHC from doing it's normal science program, though it would influence the timing a little bit.
« Last Edit: 04/10/2009 10:49 AM by Spacenick »

Offline Vacuum.Head

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #101 on: 04/10/2009 12:29 PM »
Would it punch through the atmosphere? Perhaps it's time to build the AELHC (An Even Larger Hadron Collider) on the Moon! :D
Mind you thinking seriously about it: Cheap vacuum; cheap power; cheap low temperatures...
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Offline Spacenick

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #102 on: 04/10/2009 02:12 PM »
In my absolutely uneducated opinion I'd guess that it has more than enough energy to punch through the atmosphere, due to the power it might make the air expand fast enough to create a sonic boom and maybe a plasma.

Offline Vacuum.Head

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #103 on: 04/10/2009 11:52 PM »
Thank you for a very informative post!
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Offline robertross

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #104 on: 05/13/2009 02:04 AM »
I figured this deserved a bump based on the findings from a recent conference in Montreal, Canada at McGill University. Looks like removing debris is on the table!

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=28192

From the report by Spaceref.com:
"Additionally, researchers are moving towards the next phase of scientific study. “There is an emerging consensus among the technical community that simply preventing creation of new debris is not going to be enough,” Weeden emphasized.

“At some point we will need to actively remove debris from orbit. Fortunately, new studies are showing that removing as few as five or six objects per year could stabilize the debris population over the long term. The big question right now is which objects to remove first and what is the best method to do so.”

Here is a link to the organization behind all this and the specific site:
http://www.secureworldfoundation.org/index.php?id=14&page=Mitigation_of_Orbital_Debris
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Offline rdale

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #105 on: 05/13/2009 02:15 AM »
I figured this deserved a bump based on the findings from a recent conference in Montreal, Canada at McGill University. Looks like removing debris is on the table!

It's been on the table for a while now - but the problem is that nobody will spend the money it takes to get it off the table and into action...

Offline soldeed

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #106 on: 05/13/2009 04:03 AM »
One factor making the problem worse presently is the unusually long solar minimum we are experiencing. 

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/solar_minimum09.html

When solar activity is high and there are a lot of sunspots and flares, this causes the atmosphere to expand and increase drag on orbiting objects.

It was recently asked of the hubble team why the telescope was not being re-boosted to which they replied that since solar activity has been so low that it did not need to be reboosted

Maybe we should try to provoke the sun! ;D
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Offline bolun

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #107 on: 03/27/2010 06:38 PM »
Tiny cube to tackle space debris

UK researchers have developed a device to drag space debris out of orbit.

If successful, CubeSail could become a regular add-on system to satellites and rocket stages.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8590103.stm

Offline tamarack

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #108 on: 03/28/2010 05:28 AM »
Tiny cube to tackle space debris
UK researchers have developed a device to drag space debris out of orbit.
If successful, CubeSail could become a regular add-on system to satellites and rocket stages.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8590103.stm

What orbits will this be used in? I'd guess high inclination LEO and GTO.

Offline Velomir

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #109 on: 03/29/2010 12:29 AM »
Actually such a concept will be tested by Poland's first satellite PW-Sat
This cubesat is due to launch on the first Vega flight
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Offline DeanG1967

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #110 on: 03/29/2010 03:59 AM »
Wait!  Wait!  I got it.  Ok, sell the Ares MLP for 200M (cheap) and then use the money to put Hoover Vacumns on contract.  They can build a self propelled space vacumn that can suck up all the space debree.  I mean it should be cheap...doesn't need a heppa filter or anything.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: 03/29/2010 04:00 AM by DeanG1967 »

Offline tamarack

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #111 on: 03/29/2010 05:03 AM »
Wait!  Wait!  I got it. ... Thoughts?
A vacuum in a vacuum? If that's not sarcasm, someone should slap some sense into you.

Offline glanmor05

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #112 on: 03/29/2010 11:13 AM »
Tiny cube to tackle space debris

UK researchers have developed a device to drag space debris out of orbit.

If successful, CubeSail could become a regular add-on system to satellites and rocket stages.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8590103.stm

How will they control where the stuff comes down and who do I sue when it hits my conservatory?
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #113 on: 03/29/2010 04:04 PM »
If you could develop some kind of an unmanned craft which could reliably fly around and retrieve some of this larger stuff, would it make sense to ship it to the Moon for one's ISRU plant, as feeder stock?  How many tons of stuff is there?  It represents a lot of delta-vee investment in getting to LEO or GEO so some of the heavy lifting is done already.  Plus, would the owners object if you went up there and just took it?  I would go for the stuff that has a catalogued orbit first.

About zapping it with a laser.  The obvious showstopping problem is who'sa usin' da laser?  And whuffo, exactly?  Remember the uproar when the Chinese painted one of our sats with a laser?  If that's not a convincing argument about that particular solution, then what could be?

...
(1) Given a sufficiently large aperture, the same. You only get significant attenuation in the atmosphere.

(2) The attenuation depends very much on the angle of the laser relative to the vertical. A laser fired almost horizontally would be attenuated very much. Firing straight up would be best for attenuation, but that would be useless for decelerating the debris.

(3) In any case, the attenuation is not the real problem since it is only a few percent. The biggest problem is that the refraction index of the air varies over space and time, so the ray gets diverted in a random direction by a tiny amount. The same effect is responsible for the "flickering" of stars.

(4)You can avoid this to a large degree by choosing a site with good seeing, and compensate for the remaining fluctuations by using adaptive optics. This is almost exactly the same technology used by large ground-based optical telescopes.

Now I'm not an expert either, but you seem to be making better arguments against the idea than for the idea:

(1) How big do you suppose the "aperture" should be?  And the power requirements?  Hundreds of kilometers?

(2) Firing straight up, or within a narrow cone of vision, limits the volume of the space you affect by this method.  That the effect would not decelerate the debris, prompts one to ask, what exactly do you propose to do with the debris?  Vaporize it?

(3) Which gets back to the power requirements again, as well as attenuation and mode of operation, since clouds, birds, and airplanes are also involved in the calculations, as well as a considerable amount of atmosphere and assorted particulate matter.

(4) Suggest a site.  Chimborazo, in Ecuador, is already the site of "my" MagLev launcher.  The adaptive optics you refer to are receiving faint starlight, not transmitting the power levels necessary for such a laser as you might be thinking.

Don't litter.

...
Depends on what you define as reasonable...

That is a cop-out answer.  And as to the idea that it is too late to stop littering, that is simply not true.

Hey.  I'm part of the solution here...  But I do like the term "fliply snarky".

This is such a great site.  I can't wait to get the Orbital Debris Quarterly News.  I wonder what will be this quarter's centerfold?  I hear it's quite the T&A magazine.  That would be Titanium and Aluminum.  Sorry, you have to be fliply snarky first, then you can use "fliply snarky" in a sentence.  To show that you understand...

And William.  There has been some information already released about those birds ingested by airplanes.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2010 04:04 PM by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #114 on: 03/29/2010 11:21 PM »
What orbits will this be used in? I'd guess high inclination LEO and GTO.

Why high-inclination orbits?

I would expect it to work well only in low orbits (regardless of inclination).  In GTO, the drag would be significant only at perigee, meaning that over time the apogee will gradually decrease.  Since apogee in GTO is so large, it will take a while to get the apogee down to the point at which there is significant drag over a large fraction of the orbit.

One worry I have is about the debris that may be generated by the sail itself.  It's a 25-square-meter target, which is pretty big.  Hopefully the sail is so thin that debris striking it does not generate more debris.  Or maybe the idea is that the sail de-orbits so quickly that there is not time to generate much debris.

Offline tamarack

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #115 on: 03/30/2010 01:01 AM »
What orbits will this be used in? I'd guess high inclination LEO and GTO.
Why high-inclination orbits?

I would expect it to work well only in low orbits (regardless of inclination).  In GTO, the drag would be significant only at perigee, meaning that over time the apogee will gradually decrease.  Since apogee in GTO is so large, it will take a while to get the apogee down to the point at which there is significant drag over a large fraction of the orbit. ...

I mentioned high-inclination LEO and GTO because they pose the greatest risk of high speed collisions and cascading debris as they cross orbits. High inclination is not only high risk, but the most crowded.
"The estimated mass of man-made objects within 2000 km of the Earth's surface is about 2,000,000 kg. These objects are mostly in high-inclination orbits and pass one another at an average relative velocity of 10 km/sec (about 22,000 mph). Most of this mass is contained in about 3000 spent rocket stages, inactive satellites, and a comparatively few active satellites. A smaller amount of mass, about 40,000 kg, is in the remaining 4000 objects ...(that)... are the result of over 115 on-orbit fragmentations and 20 anomalous events in which objects seperated from spacecraft but the parent body remains intact ..."
IADC - Interagency Report on Orbital Debris; 1995 (7.3MB)
http://www.iadc-online.org/index.cgi?item=documents

Equitorial GEO and LEO is less of a risk as collision speeds are significantly slower, easily predicted and collision debris would degrade rapidly. As to GTO; Most objects have a perigree of only a few hundred km and would be effected most by increased drag. They, and the dense debris field between 750-1000km, is what this device is likely made for.

I do question the effectiveness above 1000km, as there's another spike at 1500km and doesn't taper off until 6000, but I suppose this was designed for only the immediate concerns. The major problem I see, like glanmor05's, is the uncontrolled and unpredictable descent of these objetcs. It's very possibly that, if reckless, we could turn LEO into a disaster zone for a couple years with this technology.

Offline DeanG1967

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #116 on: 03/30/2010 02:14 AM »
Wait!  Wait!  I got it. ... Thoughts?
A vacuum in a vacuum? If that's not sarcasm, someone should slap some sense into you.

1.  Yes it was sarcasm

Offline Proponent

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #117 on: 03/30/2010 03:50 AM »
I mentioned high-inclination LEO and GTO because they pose the greatest risk of high speed collisions and cascading debris as they cross orbits. High inclination is not only high risk, but the most crowded.

Got it (I think): you're talking about where this device is most needed; I was thinking about where it would be most capable.

Quote
As to GTO; Most objects have a perigree of only a few hundred km and would be effected most by increased drag. They, and the dense debris field between 750-1000km, is what this device is likely made for.

My point is that slowing a spacecraft at perigee, which is what the sail does for something in GTO, lowers not its perigee but its apogee.  To lower the perigee, you need to slow down while at apogee; the sail cannot do that.

Offline bolun

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #118 on: 03/31/2010 07:59 PM »
Tiny cube to tackle space debris
UK researchers have developed a device to drag space debris out of orbit.
If successful, CubeSail could become a regular add-on system to satellites and rocket stages.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8590103.stm

What orbits will this be used in? I'd guess high inclination LEO and GTO.

For debris in low Earth orbit, the sail will be angled so that residual air particles in the upper atmosphere slow it down, causing it to lose altitude. For higher debris, the sail will be pointed towards the sun, and pushed along by solar radiation.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/mar/26/space-sail-orbit-debris

Offline bolun

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Re: Cleaning up near earth space
« Reply #119 on: 03/31/2010 08:20 PM »
Actually such a concept will be tested by Poland's first satellite PW-Sat
This cubesat is due to launch on the first Vega flight

Probably before the other Cube Sail

http://www.pw-sat.pl/

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=6076.msg391953#msg391953


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