Saturday, January 23, 2016

Space Junk Causing Military Concerns Of Confrontations

In 2010 the Judiciary Report did articles on space pollution regarding junk left behind by space crews (Space Pollution and Space Pollution - Part 2). Months after the article was published on the Judiciary Report, both Russia and America commissioned studies on the potential impact of space junk. Two years later in 2012, space junk nearly hit a group of astronauts in what could have turned fatal (Space Junk Nearly Hits Astronauts Forcing Them To Flee To Capsules). It is a genuine matter of concern.

Media reports this week indicate space junk is creating other problems. Scientists are stating nations are in danger of mistaking impacting space junk for attacks by other countries on their satellites in space. Russia, who were the first nation in space, are set to publish a report on the subject. The Guardian newspaper in London wrote, "In a report to be published in the journal Acta Astronautica, Vitaly Adushkin at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow writes that impacts from space junk, especially on military satellites, posed a 'special political danger' and 'may provoke political or even armed conflict between space-faring nations. The owner of the impacted and destroyed satellite can hardly quickly determine the real cause of the accident.'"


Rise in space junk could provoke armed conflict say scientists  

Friday 22 January 2016 13.54 EST - Last modified on Friday 22 January 2016 17.02 EST - The steady rise in space junk that is floating around the planet could provoke a political row and even armed conflict, according to scientists, who warn that even tiny pieces of debris have enough energy to damage or destroy military satellites. Researchers said fragments of spent rockets and other hurtling hardware posed a “special political danger” because of the difficulty in confirming that an operational satellite had been struck by flying debris and had not fallen victim to an intentional attack by another nation.

Space agencies in the US and Russia track more than 23,000 pieces of space junk larger than 10cm, but estimates suggest there could be half a billion fragments ranging from one to 10cm, and trillions of even smaller particles. The junk poses the greatest danger to satellites in low Earth orbit, where debris can slam into spacecraft at a combined speed of more than 30,000mph. This realm of space, which stretches from 100 to 1200 miles above the surface, is where most military satellites are deployed...

Data in the study from the Russian space agency show that the International Space Station took evasive action five times in 2014 to avoid space debris. Even small flecks of paint that have flaked off spacecraft can be hazardous. Nasa’s space shuttle was struck by flying paint several times in orbit, forcing ground staff to replace some of the spaceship’s windows. The report follows a report commissioned by Nasa in 2011 which warned that the level of space junk was rising exponentially, and had reached a “tipping point” in the threat it posed to satellites and the International Space Station.