Tag Archives: debris

Watch a space harpoon impale a piece of space debris

Watch a space harpoon impale a piece of space debrisThe U.S. government tracks 500,000 chunks and bits of space junk as they hurtle around Earth. Some 20,000 of these objects are larger than a softball.To clean up the growing mess, scientists at the University of Surrey have previously tested a net to catch chunks of debris. Now, they've successfully tested out a harpoon.The video below, released Friday by the university's space center, shows a test of the experimental RemoveDEBRIS satellite as it unleashes a harpoon at a piece of solar panel, held out on a 1.5-meter boom.The harpoon clearly impales its target. "This is RemoveDEBRIS' most demanding experiment and the fact that it was a success is testament to all involved," Guglielmo Aglietti, director of the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, said in a statement. Next, the RemoveDEBRIS team — made up of a group of international collaborators — is planning its final experiment: responsibly destroying the satellite.In March, the RemoveDEBRIS satellite will "inflate a sail that will drag the satellite into Earth's atmosphere where it will be destroyed," the university said a statement. This is how the group intends to vaporize the future dangerous debris it catches. SEE ALSO: Trump fails to block NASA's carbon sleuth from going to spaceHuman space debris hurtles around Earth faster than a speeding bullet, with debris often traveling at 17,500 mph, or faster. The threat of collisions is always present, though in some orbits the odds of an impact are significantly lower than others. The International Space Station, for instance, is in a relatively debris-free orbit, but even here there is the threat of "natural debris" — micrometeors — pummeling the space station.Other orbits have considerably more debris spinning around Earth. In 2009, a derelict Russian satellite slammed into a functional Iridium telecommunication satellite at 26,000 mph, resulting in an estimated 200,000 bits of debris. In 2007, the Chinese launched a missile at an old weather satellite, spraying shrapnel into Earth's orbit.This risk amplifies as more satellites are rocketed into space. SpaceX now has government-approved plans to launch thousands of its Starlink satellites into orbit — perhaps by the mid-2020's, should they amass money for the pricey program. This would double or triple the number of satellites in orbit."It is unprecedented," said Kessler, NASA's former senior scientist for orbital debris research told Mashable. "The sheer number, that's the problem."Kessler has long warned about the potential of catastrophic chain reactions in Earth's orbit, wherein one collision creates enough weaponized debris to create a cycle of destruction. Designs to harpoon dangerous chunks of debris are just being tested in space today, but the technology could prove critical as Earth's orbit grows increasingly trafficked with large, metallic satellites.   WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?



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International Space Station astronauts plug leak with finger and tape after being hit with debris

International Space Station astronauts plug leak with finger and tape after being hit with debrisThe International Space Station (ISS) has sprung a leak after being hit by space junk or a micrometeorite. Mission flight controllers in Houston and Moscow noticed a drop in pressure on Wednesday night and, after a search on Thursday, astronauts discovered a 2mm hole in the Russian section of the station. At that size it would have taken just 18 days for the crew to run out of air if they had not spotted the leak. The damage was found by closing hatches to each module one at a time, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst initially plugged the gap with his finger, before using duct tape to cover the hole, preventing more air leaking into space. During a live feed from the ISS, Nasa's ground control were heard to comment: "Right now Alex has got his finger on that hole and I don't think that's the best remedy for it." The International Space Station’s cabin pressure is holding steady after a repair was made to address a leak on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that had caused a minor reduction of pressure. More… t.co/qgxgPrtPDEpic.twitter.com/QQozo48sOP— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) August 30, 2018 Later, the two Russian spacemen put sealant on a cloth and stuck it over the area, while their colleagues took photos for engineers on the ground. Flight controllers, meanwhile, monitored the cabin pressure while working to come up with a better long-term solution. Mission Control outside Moscow told the astronauts to let the sealant dry overnight and that more leak checks would be conducted on Friday. The makeshift repairs seem to have stabilised the situation, at least for now, officials said. Earlier, flight controllers tapped into the oxygen supply of a Russian cargo capsule to partially replenish the atmosphere in the station. The current crew of the ISS, Drew Feustel, Ricky Arnold, Serena Auñón, Alexander Gerst, Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev Credit: Nasa A spokesman for the ESA said: “Last night International Space Station mission control noticed a reduction of pressure. This morning the crew gathered in the Russian segment of the Space Station before searching for the cause of the pressure change. “Working with mission control in Houston, USA, and Moscow, Russia, the astronauts localised a leak that appears to be in the Russian segment. The crew are working through troubleshooting and repair procedures. “The crew are healthy and safe with weeks of air left in the International Space Station reserves.” The damage is believed to have occurred when a micrometeorite or piece of space debris hit the station. Experts have warned for several years that the amount of junk orbiting the Earth, from defunct satellites and spacecraft poses a grave danger to the ISS. But this is the first time any significant damage has been caused. Experts have warned for several years about the dangers from space junk Since 1957, more than 5,250 launches have led to more than 23,000 tracked objects in orbit around Earth. But only about 1,200 are working satellites – the rest are debris and no longer serve any useful purpose. Many derelict craft have exploded or broken up, generating an estimated 750,000 pieces larger than 1 cm and a staggering 166 million larger than 1 mm spinning round the globe at 30,000 mph. Last year the ESA appealed to satellite operators and space agencies to clear up their retired crafts warning that pieces of space junk had "tremendous relative velocities, faster than a bullet, and can damage or destroy functioning space infrastructure". In March a prototype space "litter picker" designed by the University of Surrey was sent to the ISS. The tiny spaceship will perform two experiments to deploy and then capture a small ‘cubesat’ satellite, first using a net, and then using a harpoon. If it works it could be sent up to clear Earth’s orbit of dangerous debris. As well as Gerst, there are five other astronauts on board. Commander Drew Feustel, FlightEngineers Ricky Arnold and Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA,  and Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, gathered in the Russian segment of the station and, after extensive checks, reported that the leak appears to be on the Russian side of the orbital outpost. There is currently a Russian Progress cargo ship docked at the ISS and Roscosmos is recommending using oxygen from its tanks to repressurise the station. A spokesman for Nasa said: “Programme officials and flight controllers are continuing to monitor the situation as the crew works through its troubleshooting procedures.”



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Saudi Arabia shoots down missiles from Yemen; one dead from debris

Saudi Arabia shoots down missiles from Yemen; one dead from debrisSaudi air defenses shot down seven ballistic missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi militia on Sunday, with debris killing a man in what was the first death in the capital during the Saudi-led coalition’s three-year military campaign in Yemen. Saudi forces destroyed three missiles over northeastern Riyadh shortly before midnight, as well as others fired at the southern cities of Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait, the coalition said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA. Debris from the missiles fell on a home in Riyadh, killing an Egyptian resident and wounding two other Egyptians, said coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki, according to SPA.



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Nun With A Chainsaw Clears Hurricane Irma Debris Like A Pro

Nun With A Chainsaw Clears Hurricane Irma Debris Like A ProA nun in West Kendall, Florida saw a car nearly go off the road while trying to avoid a tree that had fallen due to Hurricane Irma.



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Fukushima Robot Finds Nuclear Fuel Debris ‘Hanging Like Icicles’

Fukushima Robot Finds Nuclear Fuel Debris ‘Hanging Like Icicles’Authorities deployed a robot to enter areas deadly to human beings.



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Developing: Plane Missing In Myanmar, Debris Found

Developing: Plane Missing In Myanmar, Debris FoundThere were over 100 people aboard the aircraft.



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Plane With 4 Americans Goes Missing Near Bahamas; Debris Found

Plane With 4 Americans Goes Missing Near Bahamas; Debris FoundThe plane was en route from Puerto Rico to Florida when U.S. air traffic control lost all contact with the plane Monday, the US Coast Guard said.



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California dam spillway water shut off to clear debris

California dam spillway water shut off to clear debrisOROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — California water authorities stopped the flow of water down the Oroville Dam's crippled spillway Monday, allowing workers to start clearing out massive debris that's blocking a hydroelectric plant from working.



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Officials to stop California dam's outflow to clear debris

Officials to stop California dam's outflow to clear debrisOROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — California water authorities will stop the outflow from the Oroville Dam's crippled spillway to allow workers to remove debris blocking a hydroelectric plant from working, officials said Sunday.



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