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"Collector" for screw-size debris thinkable?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Sat Mar 26, 2005 2:31 pm
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"Collector" for screw-size debris thinkable? 
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Post    Posted on: Tue Apr 12, 2005 3:15 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
In comparison to shields the advantage for vehicles, stations and satellites would be that debris is removed before it can hurt them. This would be better than shielding only - it would be a further reduction of risks.
This does sound like an attempt to clean debris out of a region of space, and that would require a BIG collector to be effective. A small collector would simply miss too much of the debris. It would be like trying to color a large paper completely black with a sharp pencil. Any gap of white left uncolored on the paper represents an area of space that was never swept by the collector. Plus the debris is always moving, so each location must be swept repeatedly.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:38 am
It isn't required to remove ALL debris AT ONCE. LARGE size of ONE collector can be substitude by

a) LARGE number of SMALL collectors,
b) repeated use of collectors.

This list doesn't claim to be complete - there may be additional substitutes for large size.

a) and b) allow for substitution of size by methods and concepts of use too. They can be combined. It's at least partially a question of organization and coordination. The decision about all this can be based on statistics and observations.

Interesting is scheduling of the use of collectors - NASA, ESA, the russian agency and all others including the privates are scheduling launches. Based on these launches - especially if expendable rocketes are launched - collectors can be moved and steered to those orbits the expendables have been crossing or flying too.

So launch-oriented use of collectors can complete regular use of collectors...

This would fit into spacecowboy's idea of running an orbital recycling business - it would be a service program. Such a programm would be less flexible in the case of ONE LARGE collector - ONE LARGE collector would be suboptimal seen under this aspect.

The launch-oriented use could have been helping in searching the Columbia damage too. It the damage would have occured in flight and outside the atmosphere a collector perhaps would have collected pieces...



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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 15, 2005 5:37 pm
Here's an ESA article talking about space debris, its causes and some of the solutions that could/are being used to reduce it.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMZPBW797E_index_0.html

EDIT

Seems like there has been a collision between large pieces of debris that has generated more fragments of rubbish up there. Here's the article

http://www.space.com/news/050416_debris_crash.html

Also here's an older article talking about old Russian satellites leaking radioactive coolant.

http://www.space.com/news/mystery_monday_040329.html

Some of these things remain in orbit for decades, we really need a SSTO craft to reduce all those upper stages.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Apr 17, 2005 3:44 pm
That's a point where I should refer to synergies - there are synergies between

1. collecting small debris instead of burning it up in the atmosphere,
2. preventing the creation of debris,
3. keeping large debris in space and
4. reusability.

As mrmorris has said in a thread in the ASP section something that is in space should be kept there - this would help to save launch costs. He said that as an argument against an idea of mine he seems to have misunderstood - the idea was to rescue upper stages and carry them back to Earth's surface for reuse in later launches but the idea was NOT to rescue all debris.

To collect small debris and to keep in space large debris means that these debris could be catched and then brought to the Moon, to Mars or to a new orbit - if it could be modified for the desired purpose. Some of the debris are tools. If something like that is possible it would save launch costs of Cargo.

So points 1., 3. and 4. are assisting and completing each other - and I myself have them in mind as components of one bigger whole idea and concept. 3. and 4. are topics of other threads - and this thread is intended to fill a gap between them. It also has connections and links to industry in space.

As 1. and 3. reduce the amount of existing debris in the orbits 4. assists 2. but is one component of it only - other components are considered in the links you listed, Andy Hill, Thank You for them.

All technologies discussed in this section should be searched for synergies with other technologies discussed here too and with technologies not under discussion here yet.

So we should lok for ways and methods to collect the more dangerous very small debris and reuse or recycle it - in space if possible or interesting.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 20, 2005 4:29 am
Collecting debris means a rendevous with each piece. Way too slow and expensive. Trying to catch them at high velocity will only make holes in the collector and more fragments.

Fortunately, small objects deorbit spontaneously due to drag, even at 500 Km. So we should just be patient and *stop generating new fragments*


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:58 am
What's interesting here is a technology that can catch the debris at high velocity without resulting holes.

For example holes are the result if the collector is inflexible instead of flexible, hard instead of soft and so on.

Rendevous with the debris - with each piece of it - isn't the problem. It is NOT required that the collector moves to each piece of the collector's own - what's required only is that the collector simply orbits by a velocity similar to the debris' - the pieces' - velocity BUT NOT by a velocity equal to the debris' velocity.

I could imagine a collector that is hanging down to the orbit to be cleaned only - hanging down from a higher orbit. Or - in opposite - the collector could be reaching up to an orbit from a lower orbit.

Up to now I had in mind circular orbits with no changes of orbit - it's going to be interesting for me to consider elliptical orbits for cleaning purposes or permanent changes between one lower and one higher orbit.

The collector could be attached to a tether perhaps.

Currently it seems to me that I have a wider image, less concrete and more flexible in mind that yours.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 20, 2005 2:59 pm
Ekkehard:

Perhaps you should "do the numbers"

Calculate the mass of a collector, its area, velocity relative to objects to be collected, and volume of space per object (something like 1.13 x 10^11 cubic Km between 200 and 400 Km altitude / number of objects).

The rough calculation of volume was the surface area of a 6700 Km radius sphere times 200.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:24 pm
The numbers can be calculated only if a technology is designed - that's not the case yet.

And there will be several different technologies and concepts possibel I suppose. Some of them have been designed here already.

I am not thinking of a large cup made of steel or something like that - too concrete, too conventional, and not innovative. What would be promissing is something "revolutionary" like Ball's concept for deceleration before reentry - the ballute made of micrometers thin film. That doesn't mean that I want to use ballutes - it does mean that I have in mind something of that degree of revolutionarity.

I didn't have in mind an object that covers 200 km at once - I expressively have been speaking of changes between orbits. "Changes" means moving between them - perhaps a path similar to the shape of a wave is possible.

A collector could use nanotechnology - think of the micrometer thin film.

First there have to be technologies and then the size or/and the weight can be discussed.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 21, 2005 10:33 am
An article of www.welt.de (newsticker) yesterday in the evening mentions that rocket-sized debris could be catched by a web or net.

Perhaps out of that a catcher for screw-szed debris could be developed too - it would be sufficient if it is part of a catcher only.

From the catcher the debris could be moved into the collector.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:27 pm
In the title I have been focussing on screw-sized debris. I have in mind a range of sizes below rocket-size.

For that range one component might be what the article "Robotic Space Spiders To Crawl Sub-Orbital Web" ( www.space.com/businesstechnology/techno ... 51221.html ) is speaking about.

Close to ist end it says
Quote:
Space spiders could build shields to protect existing satellites from orbiting space junk.
.

This isn't a collector yet but perhaps some capabilities might be added plus some components.

What about - for example - space spiders quickly moving over to the junk and spinning a child-web? The child-web could be kept linked to the mother-web, enclose the space junk and then it could be used to pull the junk into a container.

What about that and what about alternative ways?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 29, 2005 9:31 pm
A large slab of aerogel is the ay to go. Energiya was to have lkaunched a heavyweight tug to clean up space. Big is the way to go, in that you have plenty of fuel for maneuver and orbital change. The slab I would advocate captures small bits at speed.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Dec 31, 2005 3:07 pm
Wow, it's amazing to see that nobody has posted a link to "Deadly Debris" yet in this thread. Bruce and Reggie may be able to help you...


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Post    Posted on: Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:42 pm
I think that I have to change my issue that there are things in orbit and space that don't react to or don't be affected by magnets. Each thing in space is ionized by the solar wind as has been mentioned by the requirement of special tools needed to solve problems at folding a solar array of the ISS as well as by the circumstance that the space suits of astronauts attracted lunar dust during walks on the lunar surface.

What about collecting small debris particularly when passing the magnetosheath and the magnetopause?



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