Previous in Forum: Powered Flight on Mars   Next in Forum: Satellite Slingshot
Close
Close
Close
34 comments
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: About 4000 miles from the center of the earth (+/-100 mi)
Posts: 9002
Good Answers: 1025

Space Debris Removal

09/02/2021 9:31 AM

I wonder what happened to this idea. It looks to be more workable than most schemes for removing space debris.

"Boeing has filed a patent for a method of disposing of dead satellites and other debris orbiting the earth by hitting them with a puff of gas. The method, which is still at the conceptual stage, is designed to slow down satellites, forcing them to re-enter the atmosphere without sending up more space junk that itself will need disposing of."

More:

Reply
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 15089
Good Answers: 933
#1

Re: Space debris removal

09/02/2021 10:15 AM

I agree that this is promising and I like it.

I do have a few "due diligence" caveats.

First, this will clearly be a slow removal process that won't be suitable for correcting imminent collisions. This caveat reveals the offsetting advantage that it cannot be weaponized as used.

Second, reentry control of the target satellite by this system will be severely limited if not impossible.

Third, other satellites may also be affected by this gas cloud. As the cloud dissipates over time the retarding effect will be significantly less.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Civil Engineering - Member

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: ''but, don't we get PAID to ask questions?...''
Posts: 1661
Good Answers: 17
#2
In reply to #1

Re: Space debris removal

09/02/2021 11:29 AM

Maybe, it could be a short burst of ( over-abundant ? ) CO2 to direct the (debris object) at an angle shallow enough to bounce it off the earth's atmosphere, and subsequently, even farther out into to space ?

__________________
''illigitimi non carborundum...''(i.e.: don't let the fatherless (self-deluding,sabotaging, long-term-memory-impaired, knee-jerking, cheap-shotting, mono-syllabic, self-annointed, shadow-lurking, back-biting, off-topic-inquisitors) grind you down...)
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: About 4000 miles from the center of the earth (+/-100 mi)
Posts: 9002
Good Answers: 1025
#4
In reply to #2

Re: Space debris removal

09/02/2021 9:39 PM

If you slow the object, it will never bounce farther out into space, at least not permanently. Going into a higher orbit would require added energy.

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Engineering Fields - Civil Engineering - Member

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: ''but, don't we get PAID to ask questions?...''
Posts: 1661
Good Answers: 17
#17
In reply to #4

Re: Space debris removal

09/07/2021 11:52 AM

It would not slow the object.

Instead, the CO2 puff, from behind the object, would accelelerate the object slightly downward, into reducing the object's orbital radius until the nearly-tangential velocity takes it far enough into the atmosphere to where the (air) has enough density to bounce said object away from earth, and thus, subsequently be directed totally away from earth...

__________________
''illigitimi non carborundum...''(i.e.: don't let the fatherless (self-deluding,sabotaging, long-term-memory-impaired, knee-jerking, cheap-shotting, mono-syllabic, self-annointed, shadow-lurking, back-biting, off-topic-inquisitors) grind you down...)
Reply
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 5987
Good Answers: 242
#18
In reply to #17

Re: Space debris removal

09/07/2021 12:44 PM

"accelelerate [sic] the object slightly downward" will not reduce the object's orbital radius. It will cause the object's orbit to become more elliptical. Orbital radius implies a circular orbit.

There is no "top of the atmosphere" like on a lake. The density of the atmosphere just gets gradually lower as you get farther from the Earth, so there is no reason for an object to bounce like a rock skipping on water. In order for an object to "skip" off the atmosphere, it would have to have a very aerodynamic shape and a very precise orientation.

If your idea were somehow to succeed, all you'd end up doing is scattering the space junk over a larger volume, making it harder to keep track of... All this space junk needs to be either destroyed by burning up in the atmosphere, or somehow collected for re-use as raw materials for new construction.

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Civil Engineering - Member

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: ''but, don't we get PAID to ask questions?...''
Posts: 1661
Good Answers: 17
#19
In reply to #18

Re: Space debris removal

09/07/2021 4:15 PM

Where is the iron-clad gaurantee that all space obects that fall to earth would completely burn up before any single bit would strike the earth's surface ? ...

__________________
''illigitimi non carborundum...''(i.e.: don't let the fatherless (self-deluding,sabotaging, long-term-memory-impaired, knee-jerking, cheap-shotting, mono-syllabic, self-annointed, shadow-lurking, back-biting, off-topic-inquisitors) grind you down...)
Reply
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 5987
Good Answers: 242
#20
In reply to #19

Re: Space debris removal

09/07/2021 5:21 PM

Obviously there can be no such guarantee.

On the other hand, any orbiting object large enough to survive passing through the atmosphere at 17,000+ mph would be so massive that it would take more than a puff of gas to de-orbit it. There are a relatively small number of such objects; they could be dealt with on an individual basis, and would be directed to seldom-travelled areas of the oceans.

According to Ask An Astronomer, " Estimates for the mass of material that falls on Earth each year range from 37,000-78,000 tons". That's from just over 100 to well over 200 tons per day! It's a pretty rare occurrence when a meteorite strikes a person or building, because the vast majority of them burn up in the atmosphere, and those that survive passing through the atmosphere most commonly fall into an ocean.

The same would be true of de-orbited space junk.

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 15089
Good Answers: 933
#21
In reply to #20

Re: Space debris removal

09/07/2021 8:53 PM

I agree that any object massive enough to survive reentry and reach the Earth's surface will not be affected by puffs of the densest gas. However, I don't think that is the target of this technique. I thought this technique is for the tiny pieces of space junk that can still damage an operational satellite. This space cleaning technique is not for the spent rocket stage but the fragments of the explosive bolts that held the stage to something else. Getting this shrapnel and similarly sized debris to slow down by transiting a strategically placed cloud of gas can expedite their reentry and safe removal from orbit.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 5987
Good Answers: 242
#22
In reply to #21

Re: Space debris removal

09/07/2021 11:51 PM

Correct, when referring to a large cloud of gas created to slow down a swarm of small pieces, with no specific individual target. (which was indeed the original concept of this thread.)

As I have indicated in prior posts, I have very serious doubts regarding the efficacy of this concept, except perhaps for very light objects having a large surface area, such as pieces of the gold/mylar films used for radiation shielding in many satellites.

Watching the exhaust from any third-stage rocket makes it quite obvious that once a jet of gas leaves the nozzle at even Low Earth Orbit altitude, it spreads out very rapidly. It seems to me that the cloud resulting from a gas ejection would have to interact with the target(s) within a few seconds of ejection. After that, the cloud would be too widely dispersed to have any significant effect.

On the other hand, the use of a puff of gas from a relatively large craft, directed at a piece of space junk from a few centimeters away, could conceivably do the job, while vastly reducing the possible danger of direct contact with the target. The craft would then use thrusters to direct itself toward the next target.

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Civil Engineering - Member

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: ''but, don't we get PAID to ask questions?...''
Posts: 1661
Good Answers: 17
#24
In reply to #22

Re: Space debris removal

09/08/2021 11:30 AM

I doubt that the OP's original ''puff of gas'' was intended to be limited to only the relative characteristics of a simple, single, puff-of-gas ...

The specific item-of-debris would have to be re-directed by a sufficiently forcefull stream-of-gas to cause said item to gain enough momentum to approach the Earth at a sufficiently shallow enough angle to, essentially, glance-off our atmosphere, and preferably, eventually, into our Sun ...

__________________
''illigitimi non carborundum...''(i.e.: don't let the fatherless (self-deluding,sabotaging, long-term-memory-impaired, knee-jerking, cheap-shotting, mono-syllabic, self-annointed, shadow-lurking, back-biting, off-topic-inquisitors) grind you down...)
Reply
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 5987
Good Answers: 242
#25
In reply to #24

Re: Space debris removal

09/08/2021 2:56 PM

As I understand it, the OP's original ''puff of gas'' was intended to be a relatively large "cloud" that would act on many pieces of space junk, slowing them down sufficiently to cause them to fall to a lower orbit, where they would be further slowed and then burned up by the atmosphere. If this could work at all, it would have to be in a location/orbit/altitude where no currently useful satellites were located.

Please show me a scientific source that indicates the possibility of " glance-off our atmosphere" for a randomly-shaped object traveling at or slightly above orbital velocity for it's original orbit.

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Civil Engineering - Member

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: ''but, don't we get PAID to ask questions?...''
Posts: 1661
Good Answers: 17
#26
In reply to #25

Re: Space debris removal

09/09/2021 11:45 AM

OK, copy-and-paste this:

https://www.ecowatch.com/meteoroid-bounces-off-earth-2647868698.html

__________________
''illigitimi non carborundum...''(i.e.: don't let the fatherless (self-deluding,sabotaging, long-term-memory-impaired, knee-jerking, cheap-shotting, mono-syllabic, self-annointed, shadow-lurking, back-biting, off-topic-inquisitors) grind you down...)
Reply
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 5987
Good Answers: 242
#27
In reply to #26

Re: Space debris removal

09/09/2021 1:01 PM

Thanks, but I'm not at all convinced that that asteroid "bounced off Earth's atmosphere". The apparent curvature of its trajectory is mostly a well-known distortion caused by all wide-angle lenses. Every all-sky camera must have a very wide-angle lens.

91 km altitude is still well above the majority of the atmosphere. That's 56.5 miles; IIRC, a person has to get above 60 miles altitude to be considered an astronaut. That asteroid got just 3.5 miles below that altitude, and had sufficient mass and speed to pass through that thin part of the atmosphere without burning up completely.

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Civil Engineering - Member

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: ''but, don't we get PAID to ask questions?...''
Posts: 1661
Good Answers: 17
#30
In reply to #27

Re: Space debris removal

09/09/2021 3:31 PM

If you don't understand that, at the right angle, said meteorite only needed to come within 91 km of the earth's surface to ''bounce-off'' the atmosphere, then I strongly advise you against playing any variety of three-card-monte with anybody...

__________________
''illigitimi non carborundum...''(i.e.: don't let the fatherless (self-deluding,sabotaging, long-term-memory-impaired, knee-jerking, cheap-shotting, mono-syllabic, self-annointed, shadow-lurking, back-biting, off-topic-inquisitors) grind you down...)
Reply
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 5987
Good Answers: 242
#32
In reply to #30

Re: Space debris removal

09/09/2021 11:30 PM

I'm not a gambler nor a gamer, so I have no idea what three-card-monte is, and don't care to find out.

I don't want to get into offensive personal comments, so I'll say no more.

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 195
Good Answers: 9
#28
In reply to #24

Re: Space debris removal

09/09/2021 3:01 PM

It would take a very large input of energy to move an object out of earth's orbit into a sun-intersecting trajectory. Essentially, you'd have to accelerate the object by a significant fraction of the earth's solar orbital velocity in the opposite direction of its revolution around the sun, against the earth's gravitational field. See "escape velocity."

The asteroid you mentioned in a follow-up post was already traveling at or above escape velocity relative to the earth, else it would have been captured into orbit or fallen into the atmosphere.

I'd reserve this idea for toxic waste that cannot be safely recovered nor permitted to fall e. g., a large quantity of radioactive material.

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 5987
Good Answers: 242
#29
In reply to #28

Re: Space debris removal

09/09/2021 3:31 PM

Correct! Earth's escape velocity is around 25,000 mph, while low earth satellites generally have velocities in the 17-18,000 mph range.

It's not uncommon for passing asteroids to have velocities (relative to earth) of 50,000 mph or higher.

I also agree with your concept of disposing of satellites containing nuclear power sources etc., but to do so would require a lot more than a few puffs of gas!

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 195
Good Answers: 9
#31
In reply to #29

Re: Space debris removal

09/09/2021 10:37 PM

Yes, a throw-away booster rocket would be the most practical means with present technology.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 30826
Good Answers: 1723
#3

Re: Space debris removal

09/02/2021 4:31 PM
__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 5987
Good Answers: 242
#5
In reply to #3

Re: Space debris removal

09/03/2021 12:00 AM

The difficulty with magnetic capture is that each piece of space junk must be approached one at a time. Also, I suspect that many of the materials used to fabricate satellites are non-magnetic, so I'm not at all sure it would work for many pieces of space junk.

When I first started to read this thread, I imagined a fairly massive satellite that could approach a single piece of space junk and use the puff of gas to blow directly on the junk and slow it down without actually touching the junk, and I still think that might be a good idea. The "puffer" would of course be sped up by creating that puff, but if planned well, that could help it approach its next target.

I'm wary of a cloud of gas that would indiscriminately slow all satellites in the vicinity!

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 15089
Good Answers: 933
#6
In reply to #5

Re: Space debris removal

09/03/2021 8:46 AM

I think the cloud acts less like a thruster against a particular piece of space junk and more like a temporary speed bump in space. This is why a heavy gas is used.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: About 4000 miles from the center of the earth (+/-100 mi)
Posts: 9002
Good Answers: 1025
#7
In reply to #6

Re: Space debris removal

09/03/2021 10:34 AM

Heavy gas would slow the satellite more and also dissipate less quickly. It might be challenging to determine what gas to use. The effective temperature varies considerably between the sunshine and in the earth's shadow.

"The average temperature of outer space around the Earth is a balmy 283.32 kelvins (10.17 degrees Celsius or 50.3 degrees Fahrenheit). This is obviously a far cry from more distant space's 3 kelvins above absolute zero. But this relatively mild average masks unbelievably extreme temperature swings. Just past Earth's upper atmosphere, the number of gas molecules drops precipitously to nearly zero, as does pressure. This means there is almost no matter to transfer energy -- but also no matter to buffer direct radiation streaming from the sun. This solar radiation heats the space near Earth to 393.15 kelvins (120 degrees Celsius or 248 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher, while shaded objects plummet to temperatures lower than 173.5 kelvins (minus 100 degrees Celsius or minus 148 degrees Fahrenheit)."

The Temperatures of Outer Space Around the Earth (sciencing.com)

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 30826
Good Answers: 1723
#8
In reply to #7

Re: Space debris removal

09/03/2021 11:06 AM

What about the carbon molecules raining down on the upper atmosphere, is that not likely to do some damage?

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 30826
Good Answers: 1723
#10
In reply to #8

Re: Space debris removal

09/03/2021 7:27 PM

Seems it would be better to use oxygen to add to the ozone....If the gas was ejected by an approaching satellite the slowing effect would be more pronounced, that way the combined velocity could amplify the results...although we would need a careful look at the possibility of unintended consequences...

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 30826
Good Answers: 1723
#33
In reply to #10

Re: Space debris removal

09/14/2021 2:22 AM

Maybe oxygen with some reflective microspheres, that would reflect sunlight helping to cool the planet...that might open up some additional funding sources....

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Louisville, OH
Posts: 1523
Good Answers: 29
#9
In reply to #5

Re: Space debris removal

09/03/2021 6:57 PM

Speed up or slow down would depend on whether the puffer is approaching from the front or back of the junque. Either could be useful for heading for the next target.

__________________
Lehman57
Reply
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 5987
Good Answers: 242
#11
In reply to #9

Re: Space debris removal

09/03/2021 10:03 PM

Both the puffer and the target need to be in very similar orbits, so the relative velocity of one to the other is very low. If the velocity of the puffer is slightly higher than that of the target, then the puffer would approach from behind, and have to pass slightly above the target before applying a puff to its rear and somewhat downward.

If the velocity of the puffer is slightly lower than that of the target, then the puffer would have to approach from the front, and apply a puff to its rear and somewhat downward just before its closest approach, and again pass slightly above the target.

Either way, the target would slow and begin to move downward, and the puffer would speed up and move to a higher orbit, or to a more elliptical one. Once they have separated sufficiently, thrusters on the puffer could begin to aim the puffer towards the next target.

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 15089
Good Answers: 933
#12
In reply to #11

Re: Space debris removal

09/04/2021 12:09 AM

You are thinking in just two dimensions and with nearly perfect circular orbits. Geosynchronous orbits must be close to the equatorial plane. Most space junk and abandoned satellite orbits are elliptical and away from the equatorial plane. Now to optimize the drag a puff imposes on debris that timed intersection should happen shortly after release but as Rixter points out a heavier gas will disperse slower than a lighter gas along with having more effect with each interaction.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Reply
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 5987
Good Answers: 242
#14
In reply to #12

Re: Space debris removal

09/04/2021 1:00 AM

No, I'm definitely thinking in three dimensions, but I am thinking of orbits that very nearly intersect at a pretty small angle, both horizontally and vertically, and with both the puffer and its target moving in the same general direction. Either crossing orbits or opposing directions of motion would have very high relative velocity between the two objects, making the timing extremely critical and the possible puff duration very short.

It should have been obvious that I'm referring to a puffer that is de-orbiting a single piece of junk at a time. I've done no actual math, but I can't imagine enough gas of any size atom or molecule being released to significantly slow a bunch of pieces of junk, without interfering with other desirable satellites that may pass through the region.

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 195
Good Answers: 9
#13

Re: Space Debris Removal

09/04/2021 12:34 AM

Rather than dump the junk into the atmosphere we breathe, why not consider recycling it? It cost a lot of energy to put it up in orbit, so it may be cost-effective to use the materials to make new equipment in an orbiting factory.

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Commentator

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Posts: 70
Good Answers: 3
#15

Re: Space Debris Removal

09/05/2021 12:00 PM

The puff of gas needs to be of low velocity and high volume, otherwise, it might dislodge or destroy parts of satellites, therefore, adding to the amount of space debris potentially causing further complications. Energy transfer from moving gas to "stationary" satellite needs to be such as not to cause structural damages or uncontrollable rotations in satellite. It also has to be directed towards the centre of mass axis, otherwise, we might have a spinning satellite further complicating orbits and movement directions. Imagine sending a puff of gas towards the outer solar panels of an old satelite where minimal effort will create a massive change in satellite rotation (torque).

Reply
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 5987
Good Answers: 242
#16
In reply to #15

Re: Space Debris Removal

09/05/2021 1:22 PM

Good point! OTOH, the puff of gas would have to be applied from very close range for it to do much damage to the satellite, other than perhaps blowing off some bits of insulation and radiation protection.

Watch the exhaust from a rocket firing at very high altitude, and it is obvious how quickly the exhaust gasses spread out/disperse.

Since the objective is to force the object to fall into a lower orbit, where it will eventually burn up in the atmosphere, It probably doesn't matter whether it is spinning or not.

Although I really like MNice's idea of utilizing the material rather than destroying it, I seriously doubt if it would be economical to do so except for large defunct satellites. New large satellites should be designed with that in mind, so they could move themselves to a specified collection orbit at the end of their useful life.

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 195
Good Answers: 9
#23
In reply to #16

Re: Space Debris Removal

09/08/2021 2:05 AM

The major cost of operation once the system is in orbit would be energy, specifically fuel to change orbits. To minimize this, I envision two orbiter types. The first is a sweeper/trawler with large solar sails attached that also serve as collection nets. Ion thrusters serve to shift orbits and make small adjustments to catch junk or avoid snagging still-functioning satellites. The orbital angle and ellipticity would be set to sweep common junk orbits so as to overtake junk at a slow relative speed. Spider robots would retrieve the catch and stow it in bags at the docking point. From time to time, garbage truck satellites would visit the sweepers, replenish the gas for the thrusters, and take the bags to the orbital recycling facility.

The key here is patience. Over time, a constellation of sweepers at different altitude ranges could clear out thousands of small and medium-sized objects with multiple small shifts in orbit. Intelligent adjustment of sail angle using flywheel momentum exchange would provide some of the energy needed to shift orbit, as well as angling the sail to grab the next object.

One of the big challenges would be developing a means of absorbing the kinetic energy of the caught objects due to differences in velocity and keeping the objects stuck to the net until the spiders collect them. Whatever it is must resist degradation from vacuum exposure and radiation, and be cheap and easy to repair (solar thermal self-healing would be really nice).

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: East Texas
Posts: 1380
Good Answers: 31
#34

Re: Space Debris Removal

09/29/2021 11:08 PM

Me thinks I have a lot to learn about energy translation in orbital systems.
That "puff" of gas is an impact mass approximating density * volume. The impact energy will approximate .5*m*V(c) where V(c) is the closing velocity, and the impacting m is directly proportional to the gas density and cross-sectional area of the target.
How the gas might interact with a micro-debris field is an interesting thought.
If the gas mass does not achieve a closed orbit, then its threat to other systems is reduced.
The dichotomy of science is quite apparent in this proposal. To tell you the truth, "gas puffs" sounds like a great A-Sat method.
My first thought is to use induction braking if the debris is of conductive material. The induced energy translation between a strong magnet field being produced by a retro-grade Mag-sat and nearby passing conductive material would require the energy translated to be reinput to the Mag-sat to maintain orbital energy. I believe an electromagnetic method can be used to input orbital energy to the Mag-sat; using the same architecture used to generate the excitation field for the induction braking of the debris. (https://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/11752/Propellantless-Electromagnetic-Propulsion-In-Space-Applications)
Perhaps looking at the Shuttle Tether Experiments as empirical incentive for considering a simple electro-magnetic deorbiting method for end-of-life satellites?

__________________
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark." -- Michelangelo
Reply
Reply to Forum Thread 34 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

dkwarner (11); Gavilan (1); Lehman57 (1); mikespike (1); MNIce (4); MR. Guest (6); redfred (4); Rixter (2); SolarEagle (4)

Previous in Forum: Powered Flight on Mars   Next in Forum: Satellite Slingshot

Advertisement