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Geostationary orbit may be crammed with garbage debris in 20 years – chief of the Federal Space Agency

March 12, 2013, 17:17 UTC+3
Just recently, the likelihood of spacecraft colliding with a one-centimeter object was one case in five years. Today it is one case in 18 months or two years
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MOSCOW, March 12 (Itar-Tass) – Humanity may lose the geostationary orbit in 20 years from now, if it does not address the problem of space garbage fast enough, the chief of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Vladimir Popovkin said on Tuesday.

He pointed to a high risk of space vehicles’ collision with space junk.

“Just recently, the likelihood of spacecraft colliding with a one-centimeter object was one case in five years. Today it is one case in 18 months or two years,” Popovkin explained.

He added that a potential loss of any of the satellites would be a big problem, given their work load, the tasks they perform and the fact that all modern space vehicles are integrated systems.

Also he emphasized the idea that the loss of military spacecraft or of dual-purpose satellites could lead to political consequences. Suspicious questions may appear, such as ‘Why has it failed?’. Distrust may soar.

“In this respect the geostationary orbit is particularly vulnerable. We can lose this unique resource in 20 years’ time,” he noted, adding that the 2,000-kilometer-high near-Earth orbit is also under threat.

Popovkin said that the space waste surrounding our planet was fraught with what he described as “a chain reaction of self-replication, even if nothing else is put in space.”

 

 

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