Lasers on Earth are used to measure the position of space debris high above, providing crucial information on how to avoid in-space collisions. Until now, this technique has suffered from a fatal flaw.
For some time, lasers could only be used to measure the distance to space debris during the few twilight hours in which the ‘laser ranging’ station on Earth is in darkness, but debris objects high above are still bathing in the last of the Sun’s rays.
The European Commission (EC) has slashed its space budget for 2021-27 from a proposed €16 billion ($18.8 billion) to €13.2 billion ($15.1 billion) due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and the exit of Britain from the European Union (EU).
Under terms worked out last week by EU leaders, the space budget will devote €8 billion ($9.4 billion) on the Galileo satellite navigation system and €4.8 billion ($5.65 billion) to the Copernicus constellation of environmental satellites.
BOTHELL, Wash. (Tethers Unlimited PR) – Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI) is pleased to announce that Spaceflight Inc. has selected TUI’s NanoSat Terminator Tape Deorbit System for end-of life disposal of its new Sherpa-FX orbit transfer vehicle.
As part of an upcoming mission, Spaceflight will test the deorbit process with the Terminator Tape. When the orbit transfer vehicle’s mission is completed, a timer release system will deploy the Terminator Tape to rapidly deorbit the Sherpa-FX vehicle so that it does not contribute to the growth of the space debris problem.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (EPFL PR) — Work has just begun on building the first satellite that can capture and deorbit space debris. Making the space activities more sustainable is a huge responsibility – one that the European Space Agency has entrusted to EPFL startup ClearSpace.
CANBERRA (Karen Andrews PR) — The Morrison Government is backing a series of projects designed to grow Australia’s space sector and create local jobs, including improving GPS technology and the design of innovative spacesuits that will make spacewalking easier.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the 10 projects sharing in $11 million [USD $7.6 million] would boost jobs and skills in the space sector, and contribute to the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — 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.
BENGALURU, India (ISRO PR) — A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Bengaluru and Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital for cooperation in the field of Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and Astrophysics was signed by Shri.R. Umamaheswaran, Scientific Secretary, ISRO and Prof. (Dr.) Dipankar Banerjee, Director, ARIES through video at ISRO Headquarters and ARIES Headquarters on 4th June 2020.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — ALE Co., Ltd. and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, as a project of the JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC) initiative, are engaged in the “commercialization of space debris prevention devices that work by promptly deorbiting satellites after the completion of their mission,” as a space debris mitigation measure (*1). Having co-created the concepts of the project, the two partners have now moved on to the joint demonstration phase.
In the joint demonstration phase, ALE and JAXA will collaborate toward launching their space debris prevention device aboard a nano-satellite during fiscal 2021 for demonstration in space. Following the demonstration, ALE aims to develop a business to manufacture and market the device.
DLR is building a new research observatory to determine the nature and trajectory of objects in low-Earth orbit quickly, precisely and reliably. Accurate data are important to avoid collisions between satellites and space debris.
Construction work will begin at the end of May 2020 at the Empfingen Innovation Campus in Baden-Württemberg. The inauguration is planned for spring 2021.
The project focuses on particularly accurate measurement of distances using specialised lasers.
The research telescope will be the largest of its kind in Europe.
Baden-Württemberg, Germany (DLR PR) — With the construction of a new research observatory, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is taking the next step in determining the nature and trajectory of objects in low-Earth orbit as quickly, precisely and reliably as possible. This is fundamental for the future of spaceflight as it is the only way to prevent collisions between objects such as space debris and active satellites.
New government funding for innovative solutions to tackle the growing problem of potentially hazardous space debris, has been announced today.
SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — There are an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris larger than 1 cm orbiting the Earth, with only a small proportion of them tracked.
The UK Space Agency is providing up to £1 million for organisations to come up with smart solutions to this problem by using cost effective ways to monitor objects in low Earth Orbit, or applying artificial intelligence to make better use of existing orbital data.
Internationally agreed upon fees to put satellites in orbit could boost value of the space industry.
BOULDER, Colo. (CIRES PR) — Space is getting crowded. Aging satellites and space debris crowd low-Earth orbit, and launching new satellites adds to the collision risk. The most effective way to solve the space junk problem, according to a new study, is not to capture debris or deorbit old satellites: it’s an international agreement to charge operators “orbital-use fees” for every satellite put into orbit.
TOKYO (Astroscale PR) — Astroscale Holdings Inc., a market-leader in developing technology and services to remove space debris and secure long-term orbital sustainability, announced on 18 May 2020 that it has opened a Series E funding round and has secured I-NET CORP., a leading Japanese data center provider, as its first investor for an undisclosed amount.
The additional financing will be used to broaden Astroscale’s current business services and achieve the company’s mission of securing a sustainable orbital environment.
TOKYO, May 4, 2020 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market-leader in developing technology and services to remove space debris and secure long-term orbital sustainability, today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Professor Chris Newman, Professor of Space Law and Policy at Northumbria University, Newcastle, to collaborate on investigating end-of-life standards and practices from various industries, such as oil and nuclear energy. The project will highlight the need for shared knowledge from such decommissioning initiatives which can be applied to the satellite industry, encouraging responsible behavior in space and improving space environmental protection.