Articles about space junk


Send up a satellite to zap space junk if you want Earth's orbit to be clean, say boffins

A group of scientists have proposed a new method to clear up space junk using a satellite that shoots out powerful beams of plasma. Researchers from the Tohoku University, Japan, and The Australian National University, think that potential debris disasters might be averted by sending up a cleaning probe. The satellite works by …
Katyanna Quach, 28 Sep 2018

Garbage collection – in SPAAACE: Net snaffles junk in first step to clean up Earth's orbiting litter

Video Scientists have managed to capture a small floating human-made satellite using a net deployed from a spacecraft orbiting the Earth for the first time. The plan is to develop this technology to collect space clutter, and clean up our home world's orbit. Space junk circling our planet is a growing problem as more spacecraft are …
Katyanna Quach, 19 Sep 2018

Japanese robot space maid will incinerate Earth's dead satellites

Vid Good news: the latest resupply mission to the International Space Station has taken off without exploding or any of that kind of nonsense. Even better news: it is carrying 5.9 metric tons (6.5 US tons) of cargo, including a rather unusual device that boffins believe could be a great tool for dealing with space junk. After the …
Iain Thomson, 9 Dec 2016
Impact chip on the ISS

Simulation shows how space junk spreads after a satellite breaks up

Vid Whether it's a satellite breaking up or the detritus of a launch, the whole space community agrees that space junk is a huge problem. After all, even a fleck of paint can make a noticeable dent in the International Space Station's windows. Tracking space debris is a lot easier if you know where to look, so US Naval Research …

Mystery object re-entering atmosphere may be Apollo booster

A lost and forgotten piece of what was probably a rocket booster is set for a November 13 impact over the Indian Ocean, and it's got space boffins scrambling to make sure they capture the event. The mystery object, WT1109F, has a very eccentric orbit that takes it out to twice the Earth-Moon distance, and observations since it …
NASA graphic of space debris in low Earth orbit. Pic: NASA

RMIT boffins fast-track space junk search

Researchers at Australia s RMIT University, working with EOS Space Systems, reckon they can plot the trajectory of space junk with just two five-second samples of the target's trajectory. EOS has previously proposed using lasers to bump objects in orbit, and is building a joint tracking facility in Western Australia with …
EOS Facility at Mt Stromolo

EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz

EOS Space Systems and Lockheed have struck a deal to jointly develop a space junk tracking centre in Western Australia. Having a second tracking centre (in addition to its existing facility at Mount Stromlo in the ACT) will significantly improve EOS Space Systems' coverage, the company says, since its activities won't be …
Artist's impression of GOCE orbiting over ice. Pic: ESA

Falkland Islands almost BLITZED from space by plunging European ion-rocket craft

Updated The European Space Agency (ESA) has kindly let the planet know that the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer – GOCE – has re-entered earth's atmosphere, apparently without incident. Artist GOCE during its mission The demise of the craft was expected, because it ran out of fuel in October: GOCE was …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Nov 2013
The Register breaking news

Move space junk with laser shots

More than a decade's work could be closer to payoff for Canberra company EOS Space Systems, which last week told the Sixth European Conference on Space Debris that its laser systems could help move space junk out of the “danger zone”. Before you start imagining orbiting satellites bristling with enough weaponry to knock out …
The Register breaking news

India launch puts Canadian microsats into orbit

With India’s successful PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) lift-off on February 26, Canada is now boasting the deployment of the world’s first dedicated asteroid-hunting satellite. Actually, its NEOSSat – Near-Earth Object Surveillance satellite – microsatellite will also be surveying space junk from its 100-minute, 800 km …
janitor_satellite spaceone swiss science space junk

DARPA looking for citizen sky-watchers

A reader has alerted The Register to a story that passed us by last week: the launch of a DARPA program recruiting amateur astronomers to help identify and catalogue space junk. Launched here, the SpaceView project would add “citizen scientist” efforts to more expensive space junk searches like the Space Surveillance Network …

ESA preps space junk radar

The European Space Agency has announced €4 million in funding to build a demonstrator of a radar system to detect space junk before it puts operational equipment at risk. France’s national aerospace research body ONERA is to work with five commercial partners in France, Spain and Switzerland to develop a demonstrator of the …
The Register breaking news

Australia, US agree to space junk talks

Australia and America have decided that Europe’s moves against the half-a-million items of space junk might be a good thing. Australia’s participation was announced January 18 (Australian time) by foreign minister Kevin Rudd, while reports that Hilary Clinton issued a statement on January 17 (US time). America’s …
The Register breaking news

NASA mini-sat parachutes to a halt in space, prangs into atmos

NASA has successfully tested an extraterrestrial rubbish collector that could sweep up the star system's space debris. The agency's NanoSail-D is a teeny satellite that deployed the first-ever solar sail in low-Earth orbit and sailed around the planet for more than 240 days. The sail is NASA's idea for cleaning up …
The Register breaking news

Rosat dropped over the Bay of Bengal: DLR

DLR, the German space agency, has stated that Rosat, the scientific satellite that re-entered the atmosphere on October 23, made its re-entry over the Bay of Bengal. While the agency had earlier stated there was a risk that some of the satellite could survive re-entry, in particular its mirror which was protected against …
The Register breaking news

ISS crew man the lifeboat

The crew of the International Space Station were obliged to take refuge in the docked Russian Soyuz capsule this afternoon, as space junk passed within 250 metres of the orbiting outpost. According to Interfax, a Russian space official described the temporary evacuation as "normal procedure" during a close encounter with …
Lester Haines, 28 Jun 2011
The Register breaking news

ISS crew flees flying space junk

International Space Station crew members were forced to flee to the outpost's escape capsule briefly on Thursday when a rogue piece of space junk came too close for comfort. The debris, a discarded mechanism used in boosting a satellite into higher orbit, missed the ISS without incident. The three astronauts took shelter for …
Austin Modine, 12 Mar 2009

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