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Video: Robots to Recycle Space Junk

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wskehr
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Re: Cleaning up space
wskehr   8/17/2012 1:51:05 PM
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Is it complete science fiction that in movies they wear magnetic boots or would it be reasonable to use electromagnets to make sure items don't bounce away from each other?  Would it make sense to save parts in an orbit higher or lower than geosynchronous and count on the different angular velocities account for most of the positioning?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Cleaning up space
Rob Spiegel   8/17/2012 1:46:55 PM
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You're right about that motif, Ann. I remember one of the first space movies I saw as a kid in the 1950s. An astronaut was outside the spaceship doing some maintenance and bumped into something outside the ship and it sent him flying, tearing his tether and sending him out into space spinning with no oxygen. Probably pretty accurate.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Cleaning up space
Ann R. Thryft   8/17/2012 1:29:17 PM
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Going too fast is a motif in many sci-fi movies, where someone flies off to their death as a result.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Cleaning up space
Rob Spiegel   8/17/2012 1:19:01 PM
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That makes sense, Ann. Given no resistance in space, a small bump would probably have a significant reaction.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Cleaning up space
Rob Spiegel   8/17/2012 1:17:13 PM
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Yes, but I think the simulation is probably pretty accurate. We've seen the same type of seemingly slow motion hookups with the space station. It's quite amazing.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Cleaning up space
Ann R. Thryft   8/17/2012 12:23:17 PM
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The slow speed shown in the video is typical of zero G/microgravity maneuvers: it's to make sure they don't richochet off of each other and fly out into the great beyond.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Cleaning up space
Ann R. Thryft   8/17/2012 12:18:55 PM
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The video, of course, is a simulation, so things may look a lot easier than in reality. OTOH, it's amazing how we've been doing accurate synchronization in 4D for decades, including when human lives are at stake.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Cleaning up space
Rob Spiegel   8/17/2012 10:32:57 AM
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I agree about the speed, Chuck. It all looks like it's in slow motion. And maybe in some sense it is. But it must be a technological wonder to match speeds and connect like that. Just a slight speed difference and you have crash.

Contrarian
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Re: Cleaning up space
Contrarian   8/17/2012 10:10:03 AM
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You'd think that if you can track with any degree of precision where all this LEO junk is, you could use an intelligent satellite to catch up these items and give them a "tap", enough to destabilize them and cause re-entry.  I know there's an initiative to require all satellites to be equipped with some de-orbit mechanism so that when they reach end of life they don't become just another piece of flotsam out there.  I wonder how long it would take for this stuff to re-enter on it's own.  Safe to assume that with all the stuff that's up there now, not anytime soon.

Head Troll
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Silver
Re: Space Junk- The final frontier?
Head Troll   8/17/2012 9:58:12 AM
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As has been stated the video in itself is great.

I do find that now with all the sats floating around dead and possible interference with GPS units and C3 sats that DARPA is looking at the junk. 25+ years ago some of us were looking at automated ways to do just this but found more roadblocks than a prison break. Even if we had eveything on the launch pad, NASA and the Govenrment were not going to let a private group launch. Things have changed some and hopefully enough that we can get the junk cleaned up.

I remember the program. It came out about 5 years after the design work had begun. My parents thought we were working on the show instead of the real thing.

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