Thursday, June 4, 2009

Space Debris and the Entrepreneur

Space debris is catching the attention of entrepreneurs, or to be fair, their imaginations. The practicum is a long way from been established. However, a first step is physically getting into space itself, and our entrepreneurs are now in full flight after that challenge.

This is one step at a time folks.

Space debris is actually a nasty problem and has so far been unavoidable. We are now coming to grips with the problem. It compares on earth to the issue of plastic waste accumulation in the oceanic gyres.

The problem must be harvested. At which point, everyone yells ouch! Any imaginable method costs a lot of money. For our problem in the gyres, a sea going harvesting vessel will cost a fortune every day while producing a possibly modest yield of material. It looks like a lot but the hourly through put will actually be small. Therefore concentration on the surface would be very welcome. Then the concentrated feedstock needs to be conveyored into a compactor to achieve density greater than water and then chucked back overboard.

At sea, the waste is light and fairly easy to work around. Up in space we have a far more difficult problem.

Concentration of any kind may well be impossible. We also need to operate with the flow of debris traffic, overtaking the debris itself, otherwise we are catching bullets. A harvesting sail could even work, particularly is we can figure out now to use the sun’s light to provide nominal acceleration and deceleration to sweep the orbit zone.

Again once safely accumulated, it is no trick to package it up and to send it into the atmosphere.

The first step is to get up there in the first place.

The Entrepreneur Has The Answer To Space Debris

by Staff Writers
Bethesda MD (SPX) Jun 03, 2009

http://www.spacemart.com/reports/The_Entrepreneur_Has_The_Answer_To_Space_Debris_999.html

Every entrepreneur pursuing the space debris opportunity seems to have the single answer to removing space debris. It is cost-effective, simple, quick, safe, reliable, user-friendly, non-polluting, non-interfering and almost ready to go.

There is simply nothing like it and it is wonderful. Why doesn't the government grab it up and make the entrepreneur rich? In fact, why doesn't the government advertise for a single, simple solution and let the private sector submit proposals? The best single idea with the best price would get the single all-encompassing contract to clean up space.

This seems like a wonderful idea. Right now there are multiple agencies in multiple countries trying to figure out what to do about the growing space debris threat to operating spacecraft. Literally millions of
dollars are being spent on discussions, planning, meetings, conferences and other activities that will produce no solution to the problem. So, what is wrong with the government? Where are the decision makers?

This is the real problem: Years of research have taught us that there is no one, simple solution. Space debris removal will require an extremely complex series of programs at multiple levels of complexity, involving many agencies and governments, and a nightmare scenario of coordination, cooperation and operations, not to mention years of political negotiations.

In order to simply reduce the risk of collisions to operational satellites, we can expect at least several years of planning,
development and operations before there is any noticeable risk reduction.

All risk will never be removed, because the cost would be even higher than the expected high cost of returning risk to the levels of the 1990s.

Is each entrepreneur wrong in thinking he or she has the best solution? Probably, yes.
Entrepreneurs are notoriously optimistic and most are ill-informed about the challenges involved. Of course, none will admit to being overly optimistic, under informed or technically unqualified. They all have the world's "best" experts to advise them, the "most wonderful" business plans, and the determination to see the program to the end.
Barring the discovery of some disruptive and amazing new
technology, the final solution will be a program, or programs, that systematically address each of the many challenges related to space debris reduction and/or remediation.
It is estimated that a full understanding of the complexity of the challenge will require a focused effort by hundreds of experts in multiple fields of technology, policy, foreign affairs, modeling and
simulation, space mission design and econometrics. It is clear that the entire space community must be involved in addressing all phases of the solution.
For all those who are concerned and interested in the pending space debris remediation challenge, your first step is to get smart on the space debris issues and possible solutions.
This is where Launchspace can help. If you are involved in space flight, you will want to sign up for the "must take" seminar on the subject, August 4 in Washington, DC.

2 comments:

Paul the Cab Driver said...

Governments will never allow private enterprise to clean up space junk. Why? because a lot of this space junk belongs to expired military satellites, and these governments don't want their secrets to get out. Besides, we might just find out stuff they've been doing without telling us.

arclein said...

If you have ever worked inside the defense industry, it would be obvious that government and private enterprise at that level works seamlessly.

There was an error in this gadget