Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra

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The spacecraft and the 17-kilogram dummy satellite -- the debris to be cleaned up -- will separate and then perform a high-stakes game of cat and mouse over the next few months.

The spacecraft and the 17-kilogram dummy satellite the debris to be cleaned up  will separate and then perform a high-stakes game of cat and mouse over the next few months.


Space Junk


Humans have certainly thrown discarded junk all over earth. You find remnants of humans everywhere you go. Humans are particularly dirty wasteful creatures that seem to have a endless supply of discarded items even in outer space. That us until they decided to clean up space from leftovers of satellites and other space debris.

Even though you cannot see the space debris in the beautiful dark yet twinkling night sky. There is a cloud of more than 9,000 tons of space junk -- equivalent to the weight of 720 school buses floating above the earth.

This debris is composed of parts of old satellites as well as entire non-operational satellites and rocket bodies. The debris poses risks to the International Space Station and threatens things we take for granted on Earth -- weather forecasting, GPS and telecommunications. It's a problem that's getting worse with more and more satellites being launched each year by ventures like Elon Musk's SpaceX.

Now letís not blame Elon Mush, after all he is a pioneer in space travel and has made a huge contribution to manís experiences in space and space travels future.

A demonstration mission to test new technology developed by the company Astroscale to clean up space debris is set to launch in the early hours of Saturday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

A Soyuz 2 rocket will launch a 175-kilogram spacecraft with a satellite attached into space. The spacecraft and the 17-kilogram satellite -- the debris to be cleaned up, will separate, and then perform a high-stakes game of cat and mouse over the next few months. Astroscale will test the spacecraft's ability to grab a satellite and bring it down toward the Earth's atmosphere, where it will burn up. It will do this in a series of different maneuvers, with the mission expected to end in September or October of this year. As part of the mission, the company will test whether the spacecraft can catch and dock with the satellite as it tumbles through space at up to 17,500 miles per hour, several times faster than the speed of a bullet. Exciting new ideas and technologies which is going to allow humans the necessary skills to advance their ability to conquer space in the future.

The tests rely on a magnetic docking plate to latch onto the satellite. Astroscale said it hopes all new satellites being launched will ultimately have this docking plate, allowing them to be safely removed at the end of their life span.  Astroscale said it had already signed a deal with internet satellite company OneWeb.

This is such a good idea to get rid of space junk, it decreases the numbers of a space travelers bad luck of accidently running into this junk which would probably blow up any space craft which we have. Avoiding catastrophic collisions will help to protect the space ecosystem and ensure all orbits can continue to thrive sustainably for generations to come.

Astroscale is headquartered in Japan but the mission is being controlled from the United Kingdom. The technology being tested in this mission targets the removal of satellites yet to be launched and doesn't address the problem of debris already in space. However, the company is working with JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, on its first debris removal project. Other space agencies, institutions and companies are also working on technology to remove space junk.

ClearSpace 1, the European Space Agency's mission to remove space junk from orbit, is expected to launch in 2025. This mission will use four robotic arms to capture the debris.

A 2018 demonstration mission successfully deployed a net to ensnare space junk, the first successful demonstration of space cleanup technology. The RemoveDebris experiment is run by a consortium of companies and researchers led by the UK's Surrey Space Centre and includes Airbus, Airbus-owned Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. and France's Ariane Group. It has also tried a method using a harpoon.

There are at least 26,000 pieces of space junk orbiting the Earth that are the size of a softball or larger and could destroy a satellite on impact; over 500,000 the size of a marble big enough to cause damage to spacecraft or satellites; and over 100 million pieces of debris the size of a grain of salt that could puncture a spacesuit, according to a January report by NASA.

In fact, the report said, the bits of space junk that are most dangerous to spacecraft and satellites are often the smallest because they are too small to be detected, and operators aren't able to maneuver to avoid them. Who would have even given that a thought , that a piece of space junk the size of a grain of salt could do so much damage.

I am glad that humans are cleaning up their mess in space, now if they could just achieve the idea of cleaning up after their selves on earth. But anyway, this is great news for future space travelers.





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