Russian scientist – on the problem of space debris – Teller Report Teller Report

Getting rid of earthy space from space debris is an expensive and so far difficult to realize pleasure. This was stated in an interview with RT by Nathan Eismont, a leading researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ space research institute. In a comment on a recent report from Roskosmos that there are approximately 7,000 tonnes of space debris in the Earth’s orbit, Eismont explained how the tracking system works in Russia, which makes it possible to secure spacecraft. According to the researcher, the amount of rubbish is growing and it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid collisions. In his view, in order to solve this problem, it is necessary to unite the forces of all the space powers.

– Roskosmos said that there is a huge amount of garbage in orbit near the earth, more than 7 thousand tons. Why is it accumulated and how was it calculated?

– After the launch of satellites in outer space, both the separated stages of launch vehicles and the units themselves are found. And if they are in a low orbit (400-500 km), then a rare atmosphere acts on them, which results in the units shrinking and eventually burning out. But not all of them are “slowed down” by the atmosphere in this way, some remain in space for a long time. This is how space debris is formed. And we really have to do something about it.

Roskosmos named a figure of 7 thousand tons. However, it is important to take into account the size of the debris itself. If we count fragments larger than 10 cm, then there are about 25 thousand of them in space, and they are very dangerous for spacecraft.

How is space debris counted?

In our country and in the United States, the military is involved in tracking space debris. But in America, unlike in Russia, these data are published in the public domain as catalogs of objects in space near Earth. The wreck is found and tries to be identified, cataloged. All fragments are given their numbers, according to which their paths are then traced. Thanks to this, it is predicted where the fragments will be. This information is updated daily.


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– What’s the danger? space junk?

– For new spacecraft, fragments of used vehicles are dangerous because collisions are possible. They can only be calculated and predicted if there is a dangerous attitude to the device (less than 1.5 or even 5 km). In this case, you can perform an evasive maneuver. To do this, satellites have special propulsion systems to correct orbital motions. Usually such maneuvers are performed to avoid collisions, but sometimes in geostationary orbit (about 36 thousand km above sea level). RT) for a large number of devices is difficult to track.

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What volumes of debris are designed for spacecraft orbital correction systems?

– So far, she can handle garbage that is in outer space. There has never been such a thing that the device did not have enough power to go around the wreck. But unfortunately, the amount of garbage increases every year, so in the future it will be much more difficult to handle it.

In Russia withthere is an automatic warning system for dangerous situations in space near the earth (ASPOS OKP). How does it work and perform its tasks?

– The data for this system, which is part of Roskosmos, includes tracking Russian units to ensure that they operate safely. And she successfully manages her functions. ASPOS OKP, together with military systems, constantly systematizes and monitors the wreck. In this regard, we can trust the fact that the features of ASPOS OKS will be further improved and it will help our spacecraft track spacecraft.

Is it possible to finally get rid of space debris?

– Many researchers from both basic and applied sciences are engaged in this. Many people are trying to find a solution to the problem of space debris. But all their ideas have one thing in common. It turned out that getting rid of space debris is an expensive and difficult-to-accomplish pleasure.

The most relevant solution at the moment is to remove fragments using laser beams. These jets are sent from the appropriate apparatus to the debris, resulting in partial evaporation. This creates jet pressure, which causes the object to slow down and rotate further. However, this proposal has not been confirmed in practice.

Other offers, which I mentioned, are too expensive. For example, one of them is a special device with a harpoon for collecting fragments. It collects material and then sends it to an atmospheric re-entry path.

We can say that the easiest way to deal with space debris at the moment is not to litter. This method works strangely enough. There are already ways to remove the spent spaceship, which is part of the debris that clogs the vicinity of the earth.

If a spacecraft is launched, a system must be installed on it from the outset that allows it to be removed from outer space. These units are equipped with motors which, when the unit exits, provide a braking impulse and transmit the unit to the orbit for entry into the atmosphere. Another way is to send the unit to a landfill where used items are stored, but then we create a problem for future generations.

It is also possible to send such devices into space. This can be a reliable way to solve this problem.

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Are there any ideas for legally banning space pollution?

– A ban on space debris has recently been raised. The first proposals came from representatives of our country in the UN. There is a special committee COPUOS, which among other things deals with the problems of clogging the earthly space. It regulates the activities of UN member states in outer space.

Russia’s proposal to introduce rules on space debris was taken into account by this committee. One of the rules was: if a space object has worked its way out, then it may stay in outer space for a maximum of 12 years. Then the country that owns the device must remove it from space. Another requirement: to remove the launch vehicle – the carrier of the spacecraft.

Countries try to follow these rules adopted at UN level.

Can this debris pose a danger to the earth?

“For Earth, space debris is not as dangerous as for spacecraft, with one exception. There are units with nuclear reactors in outer space. They are in funerals, where they can lie for more than a hundred years. But due to external factors, there are a possibility that they will enter the atmosphere, in which case there will be a danger to the earth.There are suggestions on how to handle these devices, but so far they are difficult to implement.

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