Debris from satellites pose a threat to human activities in space

24th May 2020
Debris from satellites pose a threat to human activities in space

As more satellites launch into orbit, they start posing a threat to the environment and space industry in general. Already plenty of companies are designing lightweight carriers, aimed to make each small satellite launch more affordable as well as smaller satellites to lessen the impact of space debris. At the same time, space junk from these craft continues to grow.

Satellites launch & junk reduction cost 

According to the latest analysis from ESA’s Space Debris Office, the out-of-use craft may pose a threat to our future. As more and more junk accumulates in orbit, it may even make it too dangerous for spaceflight. This could potentially disrupt plenty of human activities and eliminate the progress we’ve already achieved. Internet, weather, and Earth-monitoring systems could be lost if companies do not address this issue.

NASA is already working on offering solutions to combat waste from satellite launches. Even today, most mission costs consider protecting their devices from debris. On average, up to 10% of each satellite launch is spent on protective coating and other protective measures.

Now, however, is the time to think about eliminating debris for good; perhaps, even moving this junk to a graveyard orbit. Low Earth orbits are especially vulnerable to it, and satellite launch might soon become impossible unless this issue is tackled head on. 

You can find more information on the topic in the OECD report and on ESA’s Space Debris website.

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