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Space Junk

The new Space Fence will detect space debris that could threaten the ISS and commercial an...

There are tens of thousands of pieces of space debris currently orbiting the Earth which pose a potential hazard to satellites, the International Space Station and other space hardware. Since the early 1960s, the existing Air Force Space Surveillance System, also known as the VHF or Space Fence, has been used to track orbital objects passing over America. Proposals are now being taken for the next phase of a new Space Fence that will better detect, report and track orbiting space junk as well as commercial and military satellites.  Read More

The CubeSail deploys to a size of 10 x 10 meters from a container measuring 10 x 10 x 30 c...

We’ve looked at the problem of orbiting space junk before and the threat it poses to the future of space exploration and the use of satellites. Now scientists have devised a miniature “nanosatellite” fitted with a “solar sail” that can be used on satellites or upper stage launch vehicles. Once the equipment that has reached the end of its mission, the solar sails can be deployed to successfully achieve de-orbit. While it won’t cut the amount of debris already whizzing around above our heads, it will help stop future missions adding to the problem.  Read More

Raytheon awarded contract to develop 'Space Fence' (Photo: NASA)

Is it a bird, a plane, a UFO, or a piece of space junk hurtling towards Earth minutes away from catastrophe? Hopefully, before too long we won’t have to guess. The U.S. Air Force has awarded USD$30 million contracts to defense technology specialists Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin to help create the prototype of a new situational awareness network dubbed "Space Fence". The Space Fence system will enable the Air Force to better detect, report and track very small objects in low Earth orbit.  Read More

The space sail for an Ariane 5 launcher (pictured), for example, would is conical with a s...

We’ve recently examined the danger posed to future space missions by the ever increasing collection of space junk orbiting the Earth. Now a plan by a pair of space engineers to use a sail to take out the trash – or rather, bring it back to Earth – may help to stop future space missions adding to the problem of space junk.  Read More

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