Space debris- Growing threat for space stations.

Space debris- Growing threat for space stations.

QUESTION:- Space Debris can make future missions impossible”. Comment on the statement explaining the phenomenon of ‘Kessler Syndrome

Colliding debris

- Man made objects have created so much debris that the level has reached a level of criticality and soon the debris in the orbit around earth would increase to the extent that future space missions would become impossible. The colliding debris is generating particles of space junk at an accelerating rate.

Kessler syndrome

- It would finally surround the planet in such a huge amount of junk that the course to space would render inaccessible. Kessler commenced the field of studying orbital debris and so it is known as the “Kessler syndrome,” a scenario in which colliding debris begins a cascade of increasing debris and destruction.

Huge number of satellites

- Out of around 600,000 pieces of space objects, only about 5% have been tracked down and cataloged. There already are almost 17000 track-able objects which pose a threat of a catastrophic collision to the working missions were even a one centimeter nut could have a force of hand grenade. Orbits of 800-965 km altitude are the worst affected. These pass over the poles. This is the case because there are already 5000 or so satellites launched.

Ways to remove space debris-

1. Removal of five to ten large satellites from space each year would be helpful enough to stop the debris from increasing.

2. Other than orbit correction, there is no other effective way of protecting the spacecraft from debris that is flying at nearly 8 km per second. In order to deal with this problem, the space agency is trying to design a hunter-killer space probe to destroy defunct satellites and slow down the growth of the debris. A Roman gladiator-style array of nets and harpoons is being deployed which would first trap rogue satellites, after which it would drag them downwards until they are burned up in the atmosphere.

3. Collision evading maneuvers are performed by the ISS crews at least once in a year.

Facts and figures-

- About 10 tons of space garbage clutter low earth orbits of up to 2,000 km.

- The 2009 satellite collision was the first accidental hypervelocity collision between two intact artificial satellites in low Earth orbit.

- Kosmos-2251 was a 950-kilogram (2,094lb) Strela military communications satellite.

- In February 2009, a US communications satellite was hit by a defunct Russian military satellite, creating a large debris cloud in orbit.
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