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NEW BOOM BUSINESS? SPACE DEBRIS AND SATELLITE COLLISIONS

Recently, former assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development Catherine Austin Fitts and I recorded her latest Solari Report quarterly wrap-up, and during those sessions, she briefly mentioned a very significant thing, so significant it may have been lost amid all the other things we were talking about. That thing was space debris, and the possibility - in my opinion a strong one - that one of this century's boom industries might very well be space debris clean-up operations.

With that in mind, consider this story that was spotted and shared by N. (Thank you!) The story in a nutshell? A bit of Russian space debris recently collided with a Chinese satellite:

Space Satellite, Junk Tracker: Old Part of Russian Rocket Crashes on Chinese Satellite!

The collision itself is not all that unusual, nor noteworthy:

Several researchers have warned against space debris. Last March, their cautions proved to be true after the Chinese satellite Yunhai 1-02 came in contact with the remains of the Russian Rocket Zenit-2. Yunhai 1-02 gained severe damages during the collision.

In September 2019, China launched a military satellite for disaster prevention and mitigation, observing atmospheric, marine and space environments and scientific experiments. It was later reported to have suffered a "break-up event" on March 18.

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At that time, the details of the collision were unclear. Many theorized it might have experienced problems with its propulsion system.

However, astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell served a different explanation for the damage.

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On August 15, McDowell spotted an update on the Space-Track.org. This is a website that monitors space activity, with records available to registered users. McDowell said that the update wrote "Object 48078, 1996-051Q: 'Collided with satellite.'"

McDowell further explained that Object 48078 is a small piece of space junk, about 4 inches and 20 inches pieces from the Zenit-2 rocket that launched Russia's Tselina-2 spy satellite back in September 1996.

Now, before we continue, let me be clear. Some collisions I view as highly suspicious. Back in 2009, for example, a Russian and American satellite collided. (See https://www.rferl.org/a/US_Russian_Satellites_Collide_In_Space/1491787.html) At the time, I entertained a high octane speculation that perhaps "someone" had nudged both satellites together: after all, neither Russia nor the United States is in the habit of placing satellites in orbits where they will deliberately collide. I still adhere to this view, at least with respect to that particular incident.

Here, however, I incline to the view that this was an accident. And the reason I do so is highlighted by the article itself:

This recent incident reiterates the earlier warnings of researchers. If space debris is not cleared up from Earth's orbit, the number of space collisions will increase to insane rates.

McDowell told Space.com that "Collisions are proportional to the square of the number of things in orbit. That is to say, if you have 10 times as many satellites, you're going to get 100 times as many collisions."

With each collision producing more debris, the chances of collisions increase proportionally, and with plans to increase manned orbital and deep space missions, this can be life-threatening. And with plans for the further commercialization of space, this is also asset-threatening. And it's here that a new industry looms: "If space debris is not cleared up from Earth's orbit, the number of space collisions will increase to insane rates." Enter Ms. Fitt's "space-junk cleaning" industry. And note, that this is a pressing need.

The question is, what form will such an industry take?

I submit that there will be two basic  forms: (1) the need to recover, and perhaps recycle, valuable components from various types of satellites and debris, which would require a cost-effective technology to go out there, a "grab-and-snag" technology, and return it to Earth or a space-based platform for recycling. Much more interesting, however, is the second possibility: (2) a technology capable of completely vaporizing debris, of getting rid of it altogether. That sort of clean-up implies a technology capable of "zapping" space debris into such small bits that the bits are no threat. But the "zappers" themselves could be. In effect, that component of the industry would effectively mean that weapons of some sort, along with their detection and targeting systems, would be in private industry hands. And of course, it also implies that those nations with space programs, and that are opposed to privatization of space, will be building their own national versions of space-clean up industry.

Either way one slices it, in other words, the space-junk phenomenon will require the weaponization of space. Space-junk makes it all but inevitable.

See you on the flip side...

17 thoughts on “NEW BOOM BUSINESS? SPACE DEBRIS AND SATELLITE COLLISIONS”

  1. so I closed my eyes and asked for an answer to the debris question. visual of a snowplow arrived. so i put satellite sweeper into google and this article was the first result

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/can-worlds-first-space-sweeper-make-dent-orbiting-debris-180978515/

    “If ELSA’s demonstrations are successful, Astroscale hopes that private companies will take the initiative to install magnetic plates on their satellites and contract its services to dispose of their derelict satellites. One company is already on board: the U.K.-based company OneWeb. The organization has fitted its latest satellites with ELSA-compatible docking plates. Moreover, OneWeb awarded Astroscale $3.3-million in funding earlier this year to prepare the debris-removal technology for the real-deal: ELSA-m”

  2. It is interesting so far none of the billionaire space companies has mentioned any plans to recycle any of this space junk to use in their space program. What these capitalists don’t have any idea how to salvage valuable material for reuse you clean up this garbage and use them on your space platforms and spaceships.

  3. We must protect Earth from asteroids, we must protect our satellites from space debris… ergo we must invent (reveal?) weapons that can zap and vaporize anything. And wait for it: We may even have to put them in space or near-Earth orbit. How convenient.

    1. anakephalaiosis

      Because of six million, in H. G. Wells science fiction, one is gaslighted, to believe in science fiction, because of six million.

      That is circular logic, with neither head nor tail, simply doing spin, for the sake of spin.

      When going in circles, one has lost control of the narrative, and is running in escalating fear.

      The outer space cardhouse is stacked upon six million, and a Martian invasion, in a fantasy novel, by H. G. Wells.

      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/qqkaqnr6ac58bb9/six-million.pdf

  4. Robert Barricklow

    When business is bad?
    BOOM![goes a satellite.]
    Need to hire some reengineers for satellite technology?
    Or, for that matter; satellite weapons technology?
    Which came first: the article about the satellite collision and/or BOOM!;
    or, the collision or BOOM! [Answer: bldg. #7]

    Imagine a satellite debris and collision recovery business called: Accidently On Purpose!
    Breaking-Up Is Easy! When You Know Your Business!
    We’ve Got the Space Junk[for the right price; in the right space/time]
    Out w/the Old Enemies[Debris and Blueprints Included Free!]
    Maintaining THE Communications Commanding Heights.

    China launched a military satellite for disaster prevention and mitigation.
    Nice PR cover shot down; in NY second.
    Many science fiction novel have the old space salvage company doing a suspect job[illegal]; the leads to an unfortunate/fortunate event.
    Here, are the seeds for that business…

    Running late…
    White Rabbit

    1. Space debris is a perfect cover for taking out competitor’s satellites. Especially if you have a satellite that can nudge already existing debris in the right direction. Or a satellite with a secret compartment that can shoot secret concealed debris in the right direction.

  5. I see space debris as the silver lining of an increasingly dark race to militarize space. Space is being used to monitor us at the moment but may soon be used to control and terrorize. It might be being used to terrorize already if fires and melted steel is indeed evidence of this. With all the different opposing groups entering space now in a race to control it before the others do the debris may become so thick it saves us from the abuse of weaponized space platforms.

    1. If some governments already realize Earth orbiting platforms will soon be impossible or are too vulnerable, then this might explain the race for Moon based platforms.

  6. So I’m wondering if all us idiots who used to kick a$$ in the old video arcade game ‘Asteroids’ will be getting a letter from the head hunters for this new industry?…

  7. Back in 1992 one was undergoing more military training in leadership, command, control, computer technology, its security (a ramping up necessity then), and other things related. One of the requirements there was to assemble a presentation of one’s choice toward mission readiness in front of peers. It could be anything, except current specialty (that came later), without restrictions but had to be time limited. Came up with “Recycling Space Junk.” What the heck, it was a hobby of study then.

    At the time (1992 or so), North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), was tracking some 8,000 pieces of leftover space junk (much more now) with an increasing danger of collisions and other fallout. Skylab was still something of a topic of interest that lingered having unexpectedly fallen out of the sky before its expiration date. An expanding global atmospheric phenomenon was blamed that created drag on its orbital velocity and without any control or navigation mechanisms to redirect it, it was at the mercy of an expanding atmosphere throughout the later 70’s until 79 when it came down. Firing boosters could only do so much.

    The folks in Australia had a few words to say about 70 some tons of US space junk tumbling their way and some of it potentially landing on their heads. Fortunately, much of it landed in the Indian Ocean but some made it to the Australian Outback without incident, thankfully.

    Today it’s much worse up there. Your “grab and snag” was part of the rationale for developing the Space Shuttle program but didn’t quite get the funding in time for Skylab. Oil price (gouging) was a big deal then, too. Like it’s becoming now.

    Space junk, it’s worth millions,” was the line used to end that presentation. Can still remember some of the ‘fish-eye’ looks it generated. Big spiel now it seems.

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