The FCC will vote this week to considerproposed changes to orbital debris guidelines that could alter deployment plans for some satellite constellations and shorten the orbital lifetime for experimental satellites.
As the crew of the International Space Station worked Aug. 30 to fix, at least temporarily, a minor air leak, the incident illustrated the growing orbital debris risk to the outpost and strains in American and Russian approaches to ISS operations.
Virgin Orbit plans to offer customers a variety of services including responsive launch, maintenance of large satellite constellations and potentially debris removal.
The European Space Agency is revising its e.Deorbit program to look for synergies between the mission and satellite servicing vehicles.
A United Nations committee reached agreement last week on nine guidelines intended to reduce the risk of collisions in space and other harmful space activities.
Astroscale, a company developing technologies for removing orbital debris, announced Nov. 21 it has awarded a contract to Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) to develop one part of an upcoming demonstration mission.
International cooperation in dealing with the growing problem or orbital debris is essential, a panel of experts argued, but said not to expect a comprehensive accord on the issue for the foreseeable future.
Operating while in orbit is the next big challenge for the space sector, be it manufacturing, assembly, satellite servicing, or debris removal, experts said.
Op-ed | Space debris is more than a nuisance; it’s a borderline violation of international agreement
Despite all the discussion about orbital debris, there hasn’t been much analysis of whether established rules and agreements are being violated by spacefaring countries that create the debris.
RemoveDebris, a space-junk-wrangling spacecraft once slated to hitch a ride to the International Space Station with SpaceX in June, won’t launch until the end of 2017 or early 2018 to allow additional NASA safety reviews, according to the European project’s manager.
As the amount of debris in low Earth orbit continues to increase, experts at a recent conference called for both improved efforts to track debris as well as national legislation to mitigate that growth.
Launchspace Technologies Corp. proposes sending platforms as large as football fields into low Earth orbit to sweep up space debris. The platforms also would be equipped with sensors to help U.S. government agencies detect and track orbiting satellites and debris.
Commercial firms are developing models, simulations, algorithms and proposing new sensors to help the government improve its ability to tackle the problems of adversaries and orbital debris threatening U.S. satellites.