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Idina Menzel will clean up space junk??

Summary

Astroscale just successfully launched their new ELSA-d magnetic satellite into orbit as a demo for their space junk cleanup effort.

 

Quotes and Thoughts

OK So Idina Menzel isn't working with NASA or Elon Musk yet. BUT this company had an almost-too-simple idea and showed the world what they can do... for all the new space junk at least. 

Quote

The first version of this technology is called the End-of-Life Services by Astroscale demonstration mission, or ELSA-d, and it launched from Kazakhstan on Monday. The spacecraft carries a fake piece of "space debris" with the necessary magnetic plate built in. The plan calls for ELSA-d to release this fake debris then practice grabbing it while both are in orbit.1

Ok so they're gonna litter then pick it up to show they can lol. Weird flex, but OK

WHY we need Idina Menzel in orbit:

The echo will be PHENOMENAL!
Space Junk is a SERIOUS issue. On top of posing a risk to any satellite-based communication or service we've come to rely on, it could literally prevent us from accessing space in the future. In the case of bigger satellites, it can pose an impact risk for earth as well.

Quote

 

Even tiny bits of space debris are dangerous, since they zip around the planet at roughly 10 times the speed of a bullet. Last year, the International Space Station had to maneuver away from space debris on three occasions, since a collision could endanger the astronauts on board.

But the largest pieces of space junk - the dead satellites and discarded rocket husks - pose the greatest collision risk.

In October, a defunct Soviet satellite and an old Chinese rocket body passed alarmingly close together. Since nobody could control either spacecraft, there was no way to prevent a collision.

Luckily, the objects did not crash. But if they had, astronomer Jonathan McDowell calculated it would have produced an explosion roughly equivalent to detonating 14 metric tons of TNT and sent chunks of spacecraft rocketing in all directions.1

 

So what they're doing is attaching a docket magnet to any future satellites. If and when a satellite dies or stops communicating, Elsa can dock with it and release it into the atmosphere to burn up

Quote

 

Astroscale hopes to prove out a range of its advertised capabilities with this demonstration, including the servicer’s ability to search out and locate the client satellite, inspect it for damage and then dock with it as mentioned, in both non-tumbling and tumbling scenarios (i.e. a payload that’s maintaining a stable orbit, and one that’s spinning end-over-end in space with no ability to control its own attitude).

There’s a lot riding on this mission, which will be controlled from a ground center established by Astroscale in the U.K. Aside from its long-term commercial ambitions, the startup is also contracted to partner with JAXA on the Japanese space agency’s first orbital debris removal mission, which aims to be the first in the world to remove a large object from orbit, representing the spent upper stage of a launch rocket.2

 

It seems almost too simple a concept, but it might make a very big difference. The situation with space junk has gotten so bad as technology has advanced and more satellites are in orbit.

Quote

 

According to a recent report by NASA, at least 26,000 of the millions of pieces of space junk are the size of a softball. Orbiting along at 17,500 mph, they could "destroy a satellite on impact." More than 500,000 pieces are a "mission-ending threat" because of their ability to impact protective systems, fuel tanks and spacecraft cabins.

And the most common debris, more than 100 million pieces, is the size of a grain of salt and could puncture a spacesuit, "amplifying the risk of catastrophic collisions to spacecraft and crew," the report said.3

 

We badly need a solution for what is already there though.

There are a few ideas floating about
 

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The European Space Agency also plans to send a self-destructing robot into orbit in 2025, which the organization's former director general has referred to as a space "vacuum cleaner."3

but

Quote

 

No company so far has a large-scale space clean-up in its sights, though.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell has said that the company's mega-spaceship, Starship, could one day be put to the task. But for now, the number of objects in Earth's orbit is growing every year.1

 

Sources

1. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/a-magnetic-spacecraft-that-can-attract-dead-satellites-has-entered-orbit-a-test-in-a-new-effort-to-clean-up-space-junk/ar-BB1eSwID?ocid=uxbndlbing

2. https://techcrunch.com/2021/03/22/astroscale-launches-its-elsa-d-orbital-debris-removal-satellite/

3. https://www.npr.org/2021/03/21/979815691/new-effort-to-clean-up-space-junk-prepares-to-launch

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Unless the paint used on spacecraft and rockets was magnetic though, we'd still have some pretty dangerous and difficult to spot+detect debris in orbit.

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"Guys stop putting more junk into orbit. Ima launch my own thing to reduce space junk"

 

*Ends up creating more space junk*

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Hey, it's at least a start. Space debris is going to be a problem so might as well get a head start on cleanup now. I just hope there are people willing to invest in this kind of technology. I imagine a lot of space debris is actually worth a decent amount due to the materials used in satellites so could this lead to some kind of space-recycling? Or is it too much effort to recycle the materials and more economical to just collect, then burn up space debris through re-entry.

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14 minutes ago, thechinchinsong said:

I just hope there are people willing to invest in this kind of technology.

Spoiler: they won’t because why would Mr Elon or Mr Amazon or Mr Whatever private space company want to spend their precious dollars on „cleaning“ space? I mean it’s called space so there has to plenty of space to put old stuff, right?

Hi

 

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hi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, thechinchinsong said:

Or is it too much effort to recycle the materials and more economical to just collect, then burn up space debris through re-entry.

This is a burn up kind of idea, but for larger spacecraft, there will have to be a different procedure.

3 hours ago, Drama Lama said:

Spoiler: they won’t because why would Mr Elon or Mr Amazon or Mr Whatever private space company want to spend their precious dollars on „cleaning“ space? I mean it’s called space so there has to plenty of space to put old stuff, right?

Because if the space junk problem gets worse, they can't launch their own stuff either...

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As Earth's orbit gets more and more congested, this space trash becomes more likely to crash, and those collisions can then send new clouds of metal chunks careening around the planet. Over time, such collisions could create a thick belt of debris that, in a worst-case scenario, may cut off access to outer space.1

 

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Space junk is a problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. We all know that the current space race has one aim: to achieve Mars by all means. Why not space agencies concentrate their effort on cleaning up our orbit? But instead of it, they continue polluting it: as I know, only a few agencies build reuseable launch vehicles and rockets and even less use them. I'm glad that companies are working on the solutions for this problem, but I think more efforts and resources should be directed to it. I'm very afraid of the Kessler syndrome.

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I very much doubt anything in space has magnetic properties. Unless they are hoping to do it with absurdly powerful magnets which attract even non magnetic metals due to their strenght (the same way Earth pulls everything towards it, even non magnetic things like organic creatures, water and rocks via gravity).

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On 3/24/2021 at 4:48 PM, Drama Lama said:

their precious dollars on „cleaning“

Cleaning means precious metals. So that cleaning will be a self sustainable, if not profitable business. 

Thing is that orbit is bigger area that earth itself. Can you release one vehicle to gather junk on earth that is even smaller?

Not to mention that that junk moves really really fast!

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4 minutes ago, PeachGr said:

Cleaning means precious metals. So that cleaning will be a self sustainable, if not profitable business. 

Thing is that orbit is bigger area that earth itself. Can you release one vehicle to gather junk on earth that is even smaller?

Not to mention that that junk moves really really fast!

Something moving really fast is relative. If two objects are in the same orbit they would be moving about the same speed in which case its no longer fast moving. Technically we are all moving at incredibly fast speeds when taking into account the earth rotation about its axis combined with orbiting around the sun. 

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9 minutes ago, Brooksie359 said:

Something moving really fast is relative. If two objects are in the same orbit they would be moving about the same speed in which case its no longer fast moving. Technically we are all moving at incredibly fast speeds when taking into account the earth rotation about its axis combined with orbiting around the sun. 

That's the theory, but their speed and direction varies. If you have seen the boring movie gravity, you know. They smash to one another and create bullets that just go crazy.

If they were on the same speed and direction, it wouldn't be a problem

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LEO stuff won’t be a problem because the orbits decay.  To not come down again eventually stuff has to be really fast and really far out. To get something like that to come down one has to change the delta vee and that requires fuel. Possibly a lot. NASA put up a collecting thing back in the 60’s but it failed to even deploy correctly.  So no data from that.  Magnetism is the weak force so it’s got more effective range than some other forces.  It’s still not powerful at any range on a human scale though.  Putting something in orbit is so hard to do that I would think it would be impossible for such angles not to be looked at.  Maybe this whole thing is just non-intuitive, but something about it sounds off to me.

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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9 hours ago, PeachGr said:

That's the theory, but their speed and direction varies. If you have seen the boring movie gravity, you know. They smash to one another and create bullets that just go crazy.

If they were on the same speed and direction, it wouldn't be a problem

That is true but the point is that if you can get them in the same direction it should be possible to catch stuff as they will be moving slowly when in comparison to each other. Granted it will be hard to use outside forces to increase speed and change directions precisely enough to catch the debris but that's rocket science for you. 

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17 hours ago, RejZoR said:

I very much doubt anything in space has magnetic properties. Unless they are hoping to do it with absurdly powerful magnets which attract even non magnetic metals due to their strenght (the same way Earth pulls everything towards it, even non magnetic things like organic creatures, water and rocks via gravity).

 

WTH?

 

Magnetism has nothing to do with why the earth pulls everything towards it. Thats gravity.

 

And from what the OP is saying they're not trying to attract things to the catcher with it, they're using magnets as a latching system, just like a magnet crane. At which point the little satellite with the magnets on applies thrust to deorbit the thing.

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For anyone curious about how much crap we have in space : http://stuffin.space/

 

Would be cool to make a few thousands super small (let's say cubesats, 10 by 10 by 10 cm or something like that) or just big enough to have ability to change their trajectory using thrusts or something ... have them match the trajectory and speed of some supers small debris and slowly get close to that, grab it and then pull it outside the regular trajectories, where other debris and dead satellites are parked. 

We probably need more computing power though and faster processing power... because hitting the space debris would be much worse

 

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1 hour ago, CarlBar said:

 

WTH?

 

Magnetism has nothing to do with why the earth pulls everything towards it. Thats gravity.

 

And from what the OP is saying they're not trying to attract things to the catcher with it, they're using magnets as a latching system, just like a magnet crane. At which point the little satellite with the magnets on applies thrust to deorbit the thing.

Would require the object to be made of ferrous metal though.  We’ve had aluminum longer than space flight.  Lift has always been expensive.  I doubt much up there is steel.  The 60’s thing was this sort of jawed enclosure.  I forget what it was called. Was one of the big nasa failures so it should be findable.

Edited by Bombastinator

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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Space junk it`s rather important issue at the present time. It`s not actually dangerous for humans on Earth but it`s dangerous for spacecrafts, they can be damaged by these space debris. We are now close to ‘Kessler syndrome’, which represents a state where the object density is so high that one collision is enough to generate a cascade effect, leading to further collisions.

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On 3/30/2021 at 5:10 PM, PeachGr said:

Cleaning means precious metals. So that cleaning will be a self sustainable, if not profitable business. 

Thing is that orbit is bigger area that earth itself. Can you release one vehicle to gather junk on earth that is even smaller?

Not to mention that that junk moves really really fast!

Honestly, not likely.

The cost of recovering space junk, and returning it to earth to recycle and reuse?  Way too high to justify.  The cost effective solution is to grab a bunch of crap, and then toss it into the atmosphere and let physics discard of it.

 

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15 hours ago, tkitch said:

Honestly, not likely.

The cost of recovering space junk, and returning it to earth to recycle and reuse?  Way too high to justify.  The cost effective solution is to grab a bunch of crap, and then toss it into the atmosphere and let physics discard of it.

 

I `ve heard of the first cleaning space debris satellite mission. The Clearspace-1 satellite, or ‘The Claw’, represents the first step towards a clean space environment by being the first space debris removal dedicated mission.
https://www.skyrora.com/blog/uk-space-news

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On 4/6/2021 at 7:24 PM, tkitch said:

Honestly, not likely.

The cost of recovering space junk, and returning it to earth to recycle and reuse?  Way too high to justify.  The cost effective solution is to grab a bunch of crap, and then toss it into the atmosphere and let physics discard of it.

 

Actually, it's not dangerous for humans on Earth but as I have already mentioned it's rather dangerous for spacecraft and for space companies who's spacecraft can collide and be damaged by space junk and whole mission can be under threat. Therefore, this issue must be solved somehow for further safe space mission.
 
 
 
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On 4/7/2021 at 2:34 AM, bearnard1212 said:

I `ve heard of the first cleaning space debris satellite mission. The Clearspace-1 satellite, or ‘The Claw’, represents the first step towards a clean space environment by being the first space debris removal dedicated mission.
https://www.skyrora.com/blog/uk-space-news

I’m not sure this was the first. Or am at least not sure how narrow that definition is.  There was a nasa satellite retrieval attempt back in the 60’s.  It was for a different purpose though and it went very wrong.  It may be “first”, but that first was may be narrower than implied.  

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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4 hours ago, Bombastinator said:

I’m not sure this was the first. Or am at least not sure how narrow that definition is.  There was a nasa satellite retrieval attempt back in the 60’s.  It was for a different purpose though and it went very wrong.  It may be “first”, but that first was may be narrower than implied.  

According to the information I found Nasa satellite retrieval is gonna bring back their own satellite. The mission I`ve mentioned (The Clearspace-1 satellite, or ‘The Claw`) which is ment to clean Earth`s orbit from all kinds of space debris.

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5 hours ago, bearnard1212 said:
Actually, it's not dangerous for humans on Earth but as I have already mentioned it's rather dangerous for spacecraft and for space companies who's spacecraft can collide and be damaged by space junk and whole mission can be under threat. Therefore, this issue must be solved somehow for further safe space mission.
 
 
 

That response had nothing to do with anything I said?

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2 hours ago, bearnard1212 said:

According to the information I found Nasa satellite retrieval is gonna bring back their own satellite. The mission I`ve mentioned (The Clearspace-1 satellite, or ‘The Claw`) which is ment to clean Earth`s orbit from all kinds of space debris.

The thing I’m talking about is a was rather than an is.  A really early rocket thing maybe 60’s. I read about it as history rather than watched it. They went after I think a telephone satellite with this capsule that split down the middle sideways.  It got stuck halfway open or something.  It was a big mess.

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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