Astronauts and space debris

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brian livesey
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Astronauts and space debris

Post by brian livesey »

The seven astronauts currently onboard the International Space Station were at risk from last minute space junk that forced them to take precautionary shelter in docked capsules.
The US Space Command was tracking a field of space debris, apparently from the disintegration of a Russian Cosmos satellite, weighing a ton, launched in the 1980s. Russia launched an anti-satellite rocket to test its accuracy.
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Re: Astronauts and space debris

Post by Brian »

"SPACE WEATHER MAKES ASAT EVEN WORSE"

More on the debris topic in today's (Nov 16) spaceweather.com
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Re: Astronauts and space debris

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There’s hypocrisy in the US accusing Russia of being irresponsible for doing the test. America was the first to destroy a satellite with an anti-satellite missile. This was followed by China and India.
In the movie “Gravity”, Russia was made responsible for destroying the space-shuttle with space junk from an anti-satellite test. It’s part of America’s constant demonising of Russia to keep the arms-industries order books topped up. Eisenhower cautioned about the emergence of what he termed the “military industrial-complex”, and here we are.
Last edited by brian livesey on Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Astronauts and space debris

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Yesterday, Russia acknowledged it had used a missile to destroy one of its old satellites, Tselina-D, and with “razor-sharp precision”. They denied that the test and resulting debris endangered other spacecraft in orbit, including the International Space Station.
Russia’s defence ministry added that America, China and India had done similar tests.
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Re: Astronauts and space debris

Post by JohnM »

I read an interesting paper recently about the impact of one of the solar storms a couple of decades ago on the position of spacecraft & debris in LEO. Apparently the calculated positions were altered by several 10's km and it took the operators of the few satellites in orbit then several weeks to recover all their positions. During this time the risk of collision increased as there was insufficient data to plan avoiding action. It will be interesting to see how the long the satellite operators take to recover the positions of the vastly larger number of active satellites and debris the next time a major storm expands the Earths atmosphere and increases the drag on orbiting objects.
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brian livesey
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Re: Astronauts and space debris

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What are the chances of being hit on the head by space junk? Surely, it doesn’t all burn up.
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Re: Astronauts and space debris

Post by JohnM »

It's difficult to say Brian,

I know that Starlink calculated that with the 'Phase 1' satellite design over something like 20 years there was an even probability of someone being killed by a piece of Starlink satellite. Since then the phase 2 & 3 designs have eliminated the dense components that survive re-entry.

The greatest risk is probably from the first and second stages that return to Earth during launch. I know the farmsteads downrange of the Woomera launch site had shelters to hide in during launches. There are a fair number of bits of rocket scattered across Australia & I guess Russia from the land based ranges. Most of the American & ESA ones land in the Atlantic Ocean.

I have not seen any evidence of anyone being hit by a re-entering craft though quite a large area in Canada was contaminated by radioactivity after a Nuclear Powered Russian spy satellite hit the Earth.

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brian livesey
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Re: Astronauts and space debris

Post by brian livesey »

Possibly the chance of being hit by a meteorite is the same or higher than being hit by space junk.
Some years ago, there was a report of highly toxic spent booster fuel leaking out in the Altai region, where boosters frequently fell/fall.
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