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From decommissioned satellites, to fragments of destroyed rocket boosters, everything that gets discarded in orbit either falls to earth or just stays in orbit-which is why Earth is now circled by some 900,000 individual pieces of garbage. For any government or private company trying to launch stuff into space, this cloud of junk represents a costly obstruction. But for our planet’s . 3 billion inhabitants, it represents an increasing danger. In October last year a farmer in California found a satellite fuel tank in a circle of scorched earth near Hanford. Vice: Hi Craig, let’s start with the space junk. Can you paint a picture of the problem we’re dealing with? Professor Craig Smith: So space junk is basically anything that’s left in space without any ability to be controlled. So defunct satellites at end of their lives become space junk if not de-orbited.
Glasgow-built satellites which could revolutionise how data is downloaded from space have been sent into orbit around Earth after blasting off on a Russian rocket on Friday morning. A pair of supercomputer satellites belonging to US data and aerospace firm Spire Global were built by its team based in Glasgow, with the aim of optimising and speeding up its ability to send information back to scientists on Earth. The Scottish city is one of six locations where the company operates, with other sites in San Francisco, Washington DC, Boulder, Singapore and Luxembourg.
Engineers have played a key role in designing these satellites, getting them into orbit, and using the information they relay back to Earth. Communicating with people has always been an important part of human existence. Many of these satellites are in orbit around the Earth. They stay in orbit using the Earth's natural gravitational force. Rockets and other spacecraft are used to launch the satellites into orbit. Satellites receive signals from one person or computer and transmit them to somewhere else.
If it comes off, these chaser satellites could one day end up helping to solve our space junk problem. Huge nets and robot arms have been discussed as ways of catching and dealing with the dead satellites out beyond Earth's atmosphere, but no one's hit upon a winning solution yet. As for Fabacher, he was first encouraged to pursue the idea after discussing it with experts from the ESA. "The first surprise was that it was indeed possible,.
When a satellite is in orbit there is a relationship between the orbital period and the semi-major axis distance of its elliptical orbit. Kepler's third law describes the relationship: prop a^3.The closer a satellite orbits the planet, the shorter its period must be to keep it in orbit and the faster it is travelling. If a satellite fires a rocket engine and slows down, its orbital period increases and it is no longer in orbit and it starts to fall
How many satellites are up there? About 1,100 active satellites, both government and private. Plus there are about 2,600 ones that no longer work. Russia launched the first satellite, Sputnik 1, in 1957. The oldest one still in orbit, which is no longer functioning, was launched in 1958. For comparison, the International Space Station is only about 260 miles high, and very few satellites are lower than that. While some satellites remain over fixed spots on Earth, others fly over both poles or can move from place to place as needed.