Many experts are warning that increasing number of space debris on Earth´s orbit which is increasing due to launching more and more satellites is going to be more dangerous in close future. Biggest problem are non-working satellites in high altitudes where atmosphere is not able to retard their revolution following with disappearance in the atmosphere.
Explosions of fuel tanks of satellites, rocket stages and registered collisions between satellites like Iridium – 33 and Cosmos – 2251 collision in 2009 create cloud of small debris which can cause chain reaction which would destroy all Earth´s orbit satellites and impede next space research for several generations.
Public opinion says that there would be created some kind of ring similar to planet Saturn´s one so space debris is not actually any problem. On the other hand due to activity of the Earth´s gravity and Moon there would be created „a coat“ from debris which would be regularly distributed, cover Earth´s orbit and impede rocket flights and launches of new space appliances.
Scientists have come up with some practical and theoretical ideas how would be possible to terminate space debris. There comes a problem that theoretical ideas in form of lasers, gels and methods which would be realized from Earth´s surface are cheaper but require long and expensive research. Practical ideas in form of „garbage satellites“ which would mechanically take debris down into the atmosphere, are also economically unmanageable. Problem is that apart of development of theoretical ideas and realization of practical ideas, there is nothing produced from scientific or economical point of view so program for space debris mitigation is not moving anywhere.
I have been thinking about solving this problem and I have come up with idea of establishment of organisation which would operate on international level as for example department in United Nations. UN is actually dealing with space debris regulation on Committee on the Peaceful uses of Outer Space in UN Office for Outer Space Affairs.
Proposed organisation would be named as ISDR (International Space Debris Regulation). It would be operated based on registration of all flights above outer space boundary (approximately 100km). All flights would be required to register and declare whether they create some kind of debris on Earth´s orbit. In case when debris (not operating satelite, stage of rocket etc.) maintains on Earth´s orbit longer than set period of time (e.g. 1 year) and is not removed by its creators, creators would pay fine set by UN (e.g. penalty for every kg of debris and altitude where debris is located).
Gained money may be used for research and space debris termination projects. Problem may be solved in a way that there would not be created space debris anymore in threat of costly fine or space debris removal would by financed directly by ISDR.
First ever company to deal just with space debris
Astroscale is a company with residence in Singapure because its neutrality and ability to negotiate with all states of the world. Residence of technological development is located in Japan. Astroscale´s objective is to develop system for active space debris removal called Space Sweepers.
Astroscale is developing system of Mother and Boy satellite. Where Mother satellite is going to be released with 6 Boys on the board. Mother satellite is equipped with orientation system so it is able to locate and get close to specific space debris. After Mother gets to chosen space debris the Boy will be released to adhere to the debris with the silicon adhesive compound lined at the front disk.
Boy is packed with solid-fuel propellant, Boy is equipped with thrusters that can produce up to 100m/s to deorbit a 50kg debris. These debris will eventually burn out during atmospheric re-entry. The technology of the Mothership and Boy will target critical debris heavier than 100kg in Geostationary orbit to reduce the probability of further collision in future.
Astroscale is planning to demonstrate its system in 2017 by launching nanosatellite with one mounted boy. Objective of this demonstration will be to catch specific space depris and roll it down with potential burn in atmosphere. For full practical realisation of Astroscale´s program capital is required. Capital for Astroscale´s program may be provided by ISDR.
Astroscale has developed its team among institutions listed below to pursue realisation of Space Sweepers program. Team composes of University proffesors and engineers from private and public sector.