Why Meridiian? Orbital Debris Problem to Triple by 2030

Posted by Amanda

Alias Studio Sydney is creating “Greenpeace in Space” and its attracting some of the best minds in Aerospace development past and present…

Everything that human beings launch high enough into space will ultimately be at risk. As long as an object is above the last traces of Earth’s atmosphere, it will stay in orbit for thousands or even millions of years.

Eventually, whether a month or a millennium after launch, it will hit one of the millions of other objects orbiting Earth. That collision will generate new fragments, which will go whirling around the planet until they, too, are involved in collisions. Over time everything in Earth’s orbit risks being ground into celestial scrap.

Today the risk of such a disaster for a satellite or a small craft like the shuttle is relatively low – though Mir, the Russian space station, launched in 1986, has been hit by objects large enough to dent the inner wall of the crew compartment.

But the International Space Station, much larger than Mir, will be a plump target for debris. Each decade that it is in orbit, according to a recent study, the station will have about a 20 percent chance of undergoing a “critical penetration” that could kill a crew member or destroy the station—and the chances will increase as more objects are launched into space. In contrast, the chances of being in a commercial-airliner accident in the United States are about one in three million.

The debris hazard is unique in being a product of our environmental negligence. After just forty years in space we have seriously polluted the final frontier.

According to Molly Macauley, a debris expert and a senior fellow at the nonprofit environmental organization Resources for the Future, “It’s going to take a major catastrophic debris event, probably involving loss of life, before this issue gets widespread attention.”

In 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

In space we are failing the sustainability test miserably. A hundred years from now, when our descendants want to put satellites into orbits teeming with debris, they will wonder what we could have been thinking.

The simple answer is we weren’t thinking at all.

Meridiian is a joint venture between R&S Rizing LLC and Alias Studio Sydney.

“If we care about Global Warming, we should care about this issue. It’s about our future.  Greenpeace’s ball of string ends here on earth. This is limited thinking… this problem will affect everyone in time… from the businesses like Space X, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and many others who aim at space, to the insurance companies who underwrite them, to someone using GPS on their phone.”

Alan Kaye, Alias Studio Sydney.

This issue is discussed and written about but there is an urgent need to centralize and this information, improve communication between experts and make it available using the latest technologies.

To anyone concerned about the environment. Let’s extend the ball of string…. we reached out into space, so that’s our responsibility also now.

Meridiian. A joint venture between Alias Studio Sydney and R&S Rizing LLC.




2016-05-21T05:53:56+00:00April 3rd, 2016|Meridiian online magazine|Comments Off on Why Meridiian? Orbital Debris Problem to Triple by 2030