U.S. general urges world war on space debris
2010-01-28 0:00

By Dan Williams | Reuters.com


World powers must find ways to reduce the amount of debris in orbit, as the collision risk it poses to spacecraft is increasing, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command said on Wednesday.

Air Force General Kevin Chilton, a former astronaut, told an Israeli audience that the United States has catalogued more than 15,000 items such as jettisoned rockets, shuttle detritus, and bits of destroyed satellites currently floating in space.

"The estimation is that these numbers could grow upward of 50,000 in total numbers in the not-too-distant future," he said, adding that this could make low-earth orbit "uninhabitable to man or machine".

The amount of debris has increased exponentially, according to Chilton, due to events like China's 2007 shooting down of a defunct satellite, and last year's collision of an old Russian military satellite and a telecoms satellite owned by Iridium.

In what was widely seen as an effort to achieve parity with China, the United States in 2008 blew up a target satellite using the Aegis missile interceptor. The Aegis is now the backbone of a planned U.S. ballistic shield for Eastern Europe.

Chilton said the increasing clutter raised the spectre of a "cascade" whereby debris causes collisions, which in turn creates more debris.

Chilton said major powers should agree on a "responsible space operation", improve their spacecraft to keep debris to a minimum, and share data on possible risks.

"The U.S. has quite an extensive array of sensors ... but even that is not enough," he said in his address to the Fisher Institute for Air & Space Strategic Studies, near Tel Aviv.

"We need to improve our space surveillance capabilities." But Chilton made clear that, for now, containment was the only option, in the absence of a means of elimination.

"Today, the way we eliminate space debris is we wait for it to come down" and burn up on reentry through the atmosphere, he said.

Chilton, whose responsibilities include ballistic missile defence and cyber warfare as well as space operations, spent three days in Israel, an aide said.

As well as visiting academic forums, he held talks with researchers at Israel's Defence Ministry, an official involved in the visit said, without giving details.

Article from: Reuters.com




Video from: YouTube.com



Image: Source



Related Articles
Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies
India loses Moon satellite links
Who Needs Spy Satellites? Google Earth Pinpoints Where Missile Targeted Taliban
Virgin Goes Galactic With Satellites
North Korea warns of war if 'satellite' is shot down
U.S. And Russian Satellites Collide
Iran launches satellite carrier
Spy Satellite Blast, Caught on Tape (Video)
U.S. may shoot at satellite later Wednesday
Operation Rogue Satellite: The Latest
Atlas 5 Rocket Launches Classified U.S. Satellite
Space debris: evolution in pictures


Latest News from our Front Page

Scary Times For California Farmers As Snowpack Hits Record Lows
2015-04-02 2:45
The water outlook in drought-racked California just got a lot worse: Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history — just 6 percent of the long-term average. That shatters the previous low record on this date of 25 percent, set in 1977 and again last year. Morning traffic makes its way toward downtown Los Angeles ...
Sharia Policeman in Swedish School
2015-04-02 0:58
Editor's Note: Unfortunately this is not an April Fools story. On monday morning emergency services were called to Eductus in Borås, a school specialized in teaching Swedish to immigrants, after a Muslim student threatened classmates who did not abide by his strict interpretation of Islam. They were reprimanded for laughing and a Christian woman who refused to wear a veil fainted ...
“Us” and “Them”
2015-04-01 22:30
I’ve decided to translate yet another one of Julia Caesar’s popular Sunday chronicles available in Swedish on the website Snaphanen. This one is named “Us and Them” and concerns a scandal of epic proportions, the Swedish governments “society coach” program. The plan was for the coaches to assist newly arrived immigrants with getting jobs and becoming integrated into society. The ...
The Expulsion and Extermination of Eastern European Germans: An Overview
2015-04-01 17:40
"Since the end of the war about 3,000,000 people, mostly women and children and overaged men, have been killed in eastern Germany and south-eastern Europe; about 15,000,000 people have been deported or had to flee from their homesteads and are on the road. About 25 per cent of these people, over 3,000,000 have died. About 4,000,000 men and women have ...
Your Smartphone Could be Tracking You Every 3 Minutes, Study Says
2015-04-01 2:24
Your apps want to know where you are Smartphone apps regularly collect large amounts of data on users’ locations, sometimes as often as every three minutes, new research suggests. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University conducted a study where they asked 23 people to use their Android smartphones normally, and tracked location data requests from each device with specially designed software, the Wall ...
More News