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The quest to minimize space debris

The Earth’s orbit is under the immense pressure of the materials occupying it. Scientists think it will be problematic to continue leaving defective satellite and space missions in space since it would affect other missions. The stakeholders and industry leaders are advocating for the development of satellites like the Russian Sputnik-1 that eventually failed, burning out on reentry to Earth, leaving no trail of its defection in the Earth’s orbit. Most of the new satellite operators are yet to take up this technology. Other governments have forced their satellite operators to ensure their launches have little to no debris trailing or occupying space.

Sputnik-1 taught the space industry that they could deorbit satellites without necessarily leaving their defunct pieces in space. The European Space Agency (ESA) Space Debris Office revealed a report demonstrating that over 2000 satellites deployed in space from 1957 have elapsed their operational period and become space debris. Many of these satellites have pulled close to Earth because of the gravitational force attracting them to follow Earth’s orbital path. These materials revolve around the Earth at disturbing speeds that make space missions dangerous, especially if they are hosting astronauts to space or other parts away from the Earth. The lethality of the space junk is such that they can collide with space vehicles at bullet speeds.

Space debris has impeded the conduction of Virgin Galactic’s space navigation for customers other than the astronauts. Jahnavi Phalkey, a science and technology historian, states that space is becoming more dangerous and darker with the vast debris accumulating it from Earth and the satellites which are navigating through it. Moreover, missions to the International Space Station could prove futile since the space vehicle heading may encounter collisions with these materials if they obstruct the trajectory path. The ESA advises the formulation of strict international measures guiding space exploration to minimize debris accumulation from missions in the Earth’s orbit.

Countries venturing space have started redeveloping their missions to minimize the deployment of defunct materials into space. Moreover, some satellites have become space security details watching every activity happening close to Earth to hold into account every country or company that releases defunct materials of their missions in space. Experts have pointed out that the ongoing constellation development is equally dangerous, especially when the satellites fail to adjust themselves in their position or with the control systems directing them. The experts advise the companies developing satellites’ constellations to ensure that they have appropriate mechanisms to mitigate the defunct satellites that they are deorbiting.

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