The problem of space debris is worsening every day.

The problem of space debris is worsening every day.

You don’t see them, but they are there: millions of debris of orbital debris that pose a threat to spacecraft.

Scientists have sounded the alarm about the amount of space debris accumulated in orbit over the 60-year reconnaissance period. It took only a quarter of a century, and dangerous huge pieces that could destroy the ship, doubled their number. According to general estimates, about 150 million fragments rotate in orbit.

“We are very concerned,” says Rolf Densing, director of operations for the European Space Agency. - “The problem can be solved only on a global scale. At a speed of 28,000 km / h, even the smallest fragment can penetrate the surface of a satellite or a manned ship. ”

In 1993, there were about 8,000 objects larger than 10 cm. And this is enough to cause serious damage to the apparatus. Now in space you can find more than 5,000 debris, reaching a meter in length, as well as 20,000 - more than 10 cm and 750000 - 1 cm. Well, do not forget about the millimeter fragments, which have accumulated 150 million. The more starts, the greater the risk. Now the accumulation of garbage acquires a dangerous trend. At a conference in Germany, scientists are going to spend 4 days to discuss this issue and take action.

Garbage Fields

Holger Krag from ESA pointed to two events that greatly aggravated the problem, creating whole garbage fields attracting debris. The first happened in 2007, when China tested an anti-satellite weapon on the old meteorological apparatus Fengyun. The second is February 2009, during the accidental collision of the Russian satellite Kosmos-2251 and Iridium.

Of course, operators track the movement of garbage and can alert satellites. But to shift the position takes a lot of fuel, which significantly reduces the service life of the device. Crag says that warnings about 10 satellites in near-earth orbit come to the receiving point every week. Everyone has to start the process of changing trajectories at least once a year.

The ISS also has to hide from the wreckage, but this requires a 24-hour warning. If the alert comes later, the team is forced to close all the hatches and enter the Soyuz spacecraft in order to leave the station immediately if a dangerous collision occurs. And such cases have already been (4 times in the history of the ISS).

Space dumps

Experts particularly focused on two sites that have accumulated a dangerous amount of garbage since 1957. The first is a low orbit (less than 2000 km) used for satellites of China, ISS, Hubble and others. The second is located in geostationary orbit (35000 km), where communication and meteorological satellites live, which are required to maintain a fixed position relative to the planet.

This dump is filled with fuel tanks and Soviet atomic satellites, producing sodium and potash coolant, as well as various bolts, nuts and tools left by astronauts. Ironically, but there was also a 1.5-meter shield, which was lost when installed on the ISS on March 30. He was supposed to protect from debris. Soon he will fall into the earth's atmosphere and burn.

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