- The rejected Chinese rocket position and the Soviet-era satellite collided with Earth almost overnight.
- This collision would have created a large amount of new space debris and exacerbated our current space debris problem.
- As we continue to launch more and more satellites, the potential for space debris to affect group passengers increases.
If you have not already heard: Space junk is becoming a real problem. There is a lot of man-made debris in Earth’s orbit that actually poses a risk to future space missions and current projects such as the International Space Station. This is bad, and it will only get worse as companies like SpaceX plan to launch thousands of satellites on a regular basis.
Thursday night, the severity of our space debris problem Plenty clear It was like an old rocket platform from a Chinese voyage to collide with an already dead Soviet satellite. Scientists observing both objects crushed the numbers and determined that the objects had a more than 10% chance of colliding, which was very high and definitely needed attention. Fortunately, the two big space debris missed each other, but that doesn’t mean we can go back to ignoring our space debris woes.
I know what you think: “Well, an old, dead Soviet satellite almost hit a Chinese rocket. so what?”
While it is true that none of the debris is active or critical to ongoing operations, a conflict could still have been catastrophic. When man-made objects in space run at high speeds at each other they create even more debris. That is, two large objects become dozens, hundreds, or thousands of smaller, but more dangerous objects that constantly orbit the earth.
We are observing that there is a very high risk between two large objects that do not function in Leo. Many data points show miss distances <25 m and PC 1% to 20%. The combined weight of the two products is 2,800 kg.
Item 1: 19826
Item 2: 36123
TCA: Oct 16 00: 56UTC
Event height: 991 km. pic.twitter.com/6yWDx7bziw
– Liolabs, Inc. (ELeoLabs_Space) October 13, 2020
Even these small objects can cause serious problems for space travel, as a small one like a bolt moving at high speed can cause incredible damage if it hits an important part of the cosmic machine. If heaven forbids, the results will be catastrophic if a spacecraft runs or is struck by a small, fast-moving piece of metal on its way to the space station or the moon.
On top of that, an object is small and difficult to observe from Earth. Two large objects is a problem, of course, but a thousand small objects moving at different speeds and in new directions can spell disaster.
The good news is that satellite and rocket positions do not collide with each other. However, the risk of such an event will not go away any time soon. Many countries have proposed ways to clean up the Earth’s orbit and remove large space debris, but so far, very little progress has been made.