Last week, the U.S. Administration declared a ban on anti-satellite missile tests (ASAT), citing concern over the danger of the resulting space debris. Previously, Russia’s ASAT test was universally condemned due to the large debris cloud produced, and before that, India’s 2019 testing raised similar concerns. The proliferation of new satellites to the rising dangers.
But there are also other lucrative markets connected to the space industry, such as space debris removal services, or satellite servicing companies, which refuel or repair space satellites while in orbit. According to a report from Northern Sky Research this could become a $3.2 billion market opportunity by 2030.
Last week, two major constellations operators, OneWeb and SpaceX, nearly crashed in space, when two of their satellites almost collided. Another near-miss happened the same day when two other satellites nearly struck each other over the Arctic. And last month, the 2-ton NOAA-17 satellite broke up, sending dangerous debris all along its orbit. This type.
Two weeks ago, the derelict NOAA-17 satellite broke up. At the same time, NASA jettisoned a 3-ton cargo pallet of junk from the International Space Station, part of the program’s typical waste process, which will remain in orbit for several years while NOAA’s satellite will be there for much longer. The problem with space debris.
In Interesting Engineering’s article on Space Debris Collection: It’s getting crowded in space with plenty of satellites being launched every year. But what do you do with the old inactive satellites? How do you ensure they don’t become dangerous garbage? “Our fleet of reusable servicers, located in different orbits, enables satellite’s life extension and space debris removal.