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Inside the high-stakes business of tracking space junk

Inside the high-stakes business of tracking space junk

AGI currently focuses on tracking debris in geosynchronous orbit, but the vast majority of debris is in low-Earth orbit, or LEO
AGI currently focuses on tracking debris in geosynchronous orbit, but the vast majority of debris is in low-Earth orbit, or LEO

From an article by Jackie Wattles in CNN tech:

One mission of Analytical Graphics Inc., or AGI, is to ensure that none of that garbage comes close to colliding with the dozens of billion-dollar communications satellites orbiting Earth.

Debris in space is a serious issue. Millions of pieces are already whirling around, the result of 50 years of space travel and few regulations to keep space clean.

The junk includes defunct satellites, discarded rocket boosters, and tiny pieces of garbage from a prior collision. At orbital speeds, something as small as a ping pong ball could blow a hole in a critical satellite.

Collisions can set off disastrous chain reactions, spawning thousands of new pieces of debris. Too much junk in one orbital field can render it useless. And too much junk around Earth could mean all spaceflight comes to a grinding halt.

That could mean an end to scientific exploration, GPS service, and satellite TV, internet and phone service for millions of people.

Read more ...

August 31, 2018


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