Space debris is waste left by humans from their missions into outer space. These include derelict satellites, fragments of satellites, dirt left by space rockets and abandoned rocket stages.
Brona argues that the amount of space junk is increasing, especially in low Earth orbit. There are said to be 20,000 large objects, hundreds of thousands of objects smaller than 10cm and over 200 million objects smaller than 1cm. All of this debris poses a risk to space missions. It also threatens the whole global telecommunications system which could lose us access to a market worth trillions of USD. That is why it is important to remove space debris.
There are said to be 20,000 large objects, hundreds of thousands of objects smaller than 10cm and over 200 million objects smaller than 1cm
There are two types of companies interested in this sector. The first are companies wanting to observe and research Space to locate space junk. The others are companies which have started to specialize in systems meant to remove the junk from the Earth’s orbit. “These can be both systems using laser beams to burn smaller junk, but also robotic systems travelling around the orbit and removing larger debris,” Brona explains.
Although the USA is the leader in this initiative, Europe has also recognized its importance. France, Germany, Spain, the UK and Italy are operating as part of the Space Surveillance and Tracking European Consortium meant to address this issue. Poland would also like to join this initiative. “We are currently on the final stretch to join this research-executive European consortium,” Brona says.
Brona is also happy that Polish companies are not looking to compete in developed cosmic areas: “they are trying to surface in sectors which are only starting to develop on the global market.”
The Polish satellite PW-Sat2 which was to launch on Monday as part of this space debris clearing initiative was created by students from the Warsaw University of Technology.
On Sunday, SpaceX revealed on twitter that the launch is cancelled “to conduct additional pre-flight inspections. Once complete, we will confirm a new launch date.”