Space Junk

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pyoko

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I understand how spent stages can get there, but why would pieces, nuts and bolts fall off from satellites, be they old or not? Are they that badly build? Surely there is no corrosion in space. Paint chips I can understand. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p><p><span style="color:#ff9900" class="Apple-style-span">-pyoko</span> <span style="color:#333333" class="Apple-style-span">the</span> <span style="color:#339966" class="Apple-style-span">duck </span></p><p><span style="color:#339966" class="Apple-style-span"><span style="color:#808080;font-style:italic" class="Apple-style-span">It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.</span></span></p> </div>
 
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usn_skwerl

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Radiation can cause corrosion, galvanic corrosion exists between dissimilar metals. Electromagnetic created by the earths magnetic field can corrode metals, as seen on STS-75's tether.<br /><br />I found this after a quick google; space junk<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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nexium

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I notice with new house construction, thousands of nails, scraps etc are dropped during the construction of one house. At additional cost, this trash could be reduced. Likely this is true in space also. It is partly human habit and partly priorities. Explosions, such as the recent China craft account for perhaps half of the small peices. Neil
 
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adrenalynn

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"scraps etc are dropped during the construction of one house"<br /><br />So the people that assemble satellites in space are dropping nails? <br /><br />No.<br /><br />Satellites are assembled in clean-rooms. They're cleaned and gone over a bazillion times. No expense is spared in its shakedown.<br /><br />Corrosion, friction, freeze/thaw cycle component failure, radiation failure. Yes. Space is a pretty hostile place. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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usn_skwerl

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oh, and the occasional FOD that floats free of the shuttle cargo bay. I forgot about that. It doesnt happen often, but it's still there.<br /><br />Some other stuff we see in space; solid fuel particles, gloves, a camera Suni lost on an EVA, urine particles, a pair of pliers from this last shuttle mission...That's all I can think of for now that hasn't been mentioned. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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zarnic

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No doubt there is a lot of debris floating around our world, one would think that would be an indication of life on ther planets. Litter is everywhere, at least in the US, for man cares little about his environment. I can't help but wonder, will it ever go away or will there always be space debris to contend with? It is said that space junk even includes human waste ... now that is sad! BTW, I'm like many others, what that heck is 'smeg' and does it relate to this? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Wisdom doesn't automatically come with old age. Nothing does - except wrinkles.</em> A. Van Buren, 1978<br />* <em>An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.</em>  -- according to Van Roy</p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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There will always be space junk to deal with, at least until (if) we are absorbed in the sun's outer atmosphere in 5 billion years or so.<br /><br />We have irrevocable polluted the near earth space environment. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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shadow735

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we should develop a robotic magnet sattalite to fly around in various orbits collecting debres and flinging it back to burn up in earths atmosphere. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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usn_skwerl

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It's not cost effieicnt, but if that were the case, it'd be a space tug, and you couldn't use magnetic forces, because most satellites are non-ferrous as a whole. <br /><br />Not only that, but there'd be a huge amount of fuel required. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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pyoko

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What would be the point of that? Clean our orbit of trash? I'll buy that for a dollar! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p><p><span style="color:#ff9900" class="Apple-style-span">-pyoko</span> <span style="color:#333333" class="Apple-style-span">the</span> <span style="color:#339966" class="Apple-style-span">duck </span></p><p><span style="color:#339966" class="Apple-style-span"><span style="color:#808080;font-style:italic" class="Apple-style-span">It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.</span></span></p> </div>
 
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usn_skwerl

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*goes to work my lab to make a 4 million square mile CNT fishnet* <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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qso1

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zarnic:<br />My question is, how the heck to we keep from hitting any?<br /><br />Me;<br />Meteor Wayne explained it well. And much of the time we do not hit any debris but occasionally we do. So far we have been lucky its been debris not large enough to do substantial damage. A Challenger window pane had a paint chip embedded in it upon return from one of its early missions and I believe the same happened to Discovery on the mission it just completed. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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sssalvi

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One sigle act of humankind added over 3000 pieces of junk on 11th January this year when China launched a rocket to 'kill' a defunct satellite Feng Yun - 1C .<br /><br />The pieces varying from a few cms to larger ones were(are) scattered from a single point as a cloud are now spread all over the world and in various orbits. <br /><br />Unfortunately majority of those pieces are in the most crowded orbital zone of LEO satellites.<br /><br />A good technical description can be found in Celestrak.com ( I call it the Bible of orbital data ). [ http://celestrak.com/events/asat.asp ]<br /><br />General discussion on Orbital debris contributed by a many of big player countries is at http://www.satcoms.org.uk/satcoms_articles/articles/forum_posts.asp?TID=102<br /><br />----------<br />S^3
 
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MeteorWayne

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Nice summary sssalvi, Thanx.<br /><br />Welcome to Space,com! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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kelvinzero

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Does anyone know by what sort of function the orbits of these fragments would decay? The ISS needs help to prevent its orbit decaying, so I assume a tiny fragment at that height would come to earth much much faster, due to much greater area to mass ratio.<br /><br />(edit: seems to be answered in that link, thanks)<br /><br />I expect the problem will be solvable, eg:<br />http://www.spacedaily.com/news/debris-00a.html<br />Lasers and tracking are getting better all the time. It may seem daunting now to deal with billions of microscopic objects on a case by case basis but it could become mundane.<br /><br />There may be political issues right now, but everyone in space is going to have a stake in addressing this problem.
 
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sssalvi

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I assume that you mean fragments generated by Chinese ASAT test. <br />Original satellite was in a circular orbit in a LEO class. But after the fragmentation the components are in highly elliptical orbits and dispersed over 200Kms to 4000 Kms band around earth and although original orbit was pole to pole I have found a few fragments in low inclination orbits also. <br /> In short a chaotic 'layer' is now hovering around earth. <br />Even decay estimates are difficult because the spread of probabability is very high. <br />Chances of the quantum of particles that will decay is shown in this link.<br />http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc60/sssalvi/DecayGraph.jpg<br /><br />Even the estimates have a larrge band of uncertainty. <br /><br />=========<br />S^3
 
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