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Space debris tracker

2023-12-24 18:57:16, Tech CNA

Space debris tracker

A new company in Britain hopes that devices with its new technology will be able to track dangerous space debris. We are talking about the parts with dimensions over one millimeter, which can endanger satellites and spaceships, as they move at very high speeds.

Debris in space is created by collisions between satellites and space debris, which can create large "clouds" of material that can travel faster than a bullet.

"Yes, it is dangerous. And it's getting even more dangerous. So it is an exponential problem", says the co-founder of the company "ODIN Space", Dan Terret.

Thousands of commercial satellites are being launched into Earth's orbit at record rates, increasing the risk of collisions that could create debris piles.

Attempts to trace these remains, even the smallest ones, have so far been unsuccessful. But the company "ODIN Space" has designed a tracking system that can identify parts as small as 0.1 mm in size, and even if they are traveling at speeds of thousands of meters per second.

"They travel so fast that they pose a danger to the satellites and therefore it is very important that the satellite is in the right orbit, so that it is properly protected", says Mr. Terret.

The space regulatory agency recently imposed its first fine on a company that failed to pull a damaged satellite from orbit that posed a risk to other satellites. The company "ODIN Space" says that the largest pieces, those over 1 centimeter in size, are tracked by certain radars and satellites. But smaller pieces of just a few millimeters can cause great damage while being almost invisible as they travel at high speeds.

The company says it has found ways to screen for smaller particles.

"We send such panels into space. They are mounted on the outer parts of the satellites and when the pieces hit the satellite, they pass through these panels. We can analyze the data to know how big the pieces are that hit, how fast they travel, in which direction and we achieve all this through acoustic signals", says James New, executive director of the company "ODIN Space". .

The panels are designed to be placed on all types of spacecraft, creating a network of sensors that provide a real-time view of the environment in orbit.

"The idea is that we're not adding satellites into orbit, we're not adding to the problem. We are creating sensors that are so light that they can be placed on other satellites. This is how we can make good use of the power of the extraordinary growth in the space industry", says Mr. Terret.

The company's first sensors launched this June alongside a small Italian satellite and will begin collecting data.

"43% of satellites in space have been launched in the last three years and this will only increase, with 100,000 more satellites in orbit by 2030," says Mr. Terret.

The company says it wants to use this rapid growth to install as many sensors as possible in space, which will help all companies operating in the space industry./ VOA

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