Welcome to CleanUpSpace.net!
We are an environmentally-conscious and technologically-innovative enterprise devoted to removing orbital debris from Earth’s orbits, where they pose a grave risk to astronauts, projects like the International Space Station, and countless weather, telecommunication, and navigation satellites.
We want to find a way to reuse the resources we have floating around as orbital debris– the old satellites, rocket boosters, technological hardware, and scrap metal– and make them viable for use in future space missions. We are aiming for re-usability and waste reduction, so generally any cleanup ideas with those values are preferred over those which simply aim to knock orbital debris into a decay orbit to burn up on reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.
Currently no methods of orbital debris cleanup have been successfully implemented, other than preventative measures. We want to change that. Tackling orbital debris cleanup is a complex issue, so we’re working hard to research the problem and bounce around ideas in order to develop an innovative, economically-feasible, and environmentally-conscious solution.
Feel free to browse the site, post comments, share with your friends, tweet @TheSpaceJunkman and use #CleanUpSpace!
If you’d like to become a writer for the site and see your thoughts posted on our homepage, we’d love to have you! Simply send an email stating your name and your intention to become a contributor to TheSpaceJunkman@gmail.com, and you will receive a prompt response.
Just so that you have a little more knowledge to work with, here are a few excerpts from NASA’s Orbital Debris FAQ:
“What are orbital debris?
Orbital debris are all man-made objects in orbit about the Earth which no longer serve a useful purpose.
What are examples of orbital debris?
Derelict spacecraft and upper stages of launch vehicles, carriers for multiple payloads, debris intentionally released during spacecraft separation from its launch vehicle or during mission operations, debris created as a result of spacecraft or upper stage explosions or collisions, solid rocket motor effluents, and tiny flecks of paint released by thermal stress or small particle impacts.
How many orbital debris are currently in Earth orbit?
More than 21,000 orbital debris larger than 10 cm are known to exist. The estimated population of particles between 1 and 10 cm in diameter is approximately 500,000. The number of particles smaller than 1 cm exceeds 100 million.
What is the principal source of large orbital debris?
Satellite explosions and collisions. Prior to 2007, the principal source of debris was from explosions of old launch vehicle upper stages left in orbit with stored energy sources, e.g., residual propellants and high pressure fluids. The intentional destruction of the Fengyun-1C weather satellite by China in 2007 and the accidental collision of American and Russian communications satellites in 2009 greatly increased the number of large debris in orbit and now represent one-third of all cataloged orbital debris.”
“But orbital debris is way up there! How can if affect me?”
Imagine you’re driving in a place with which you are not familiar. You’re using your smartphone’s navigation. You have a car phone-charger and nothing to be worried about. You’re halfway to your destination when suddenly the GPS signal is lost. When that occasionally happens to me, I just keep driving until it comes back on. But imagine that it doesn’t come back on. It doesn’t come back on because the navigation satellite that was providing you with GPS was just destroyed by a piece of space junk which collided with the satellite at over 17,000 mph.
Imagine you find yourself needing to call emergency services, only to discover that the full bars of signal you just had have suddenly disappeared. That telecommunication satellite which was providing you with cell service was just destroyed by orbital debris.
Far worse than either of these scenarios, however, is the reality that brave astronauts must navigate spacecraft through an endless barrage of orbital debris, while knowing that being struck by even the smallest piece of debris could cause a system failure and lead to their deaths. There are a lot of safety measures taken to reduce the risk of this happening, but the risk is still there.
If you’re in favor of space exploration (and I surely hope you are), you must come to understand that orbital debris is a threat to the safety of astronauts and all spacecraft exiting the Earth or remaining in any of Earth’s orbits.
One small step on the path to exploring our solar system (and beyond) is first cleaning our own front porch.