So what's new? - McGill University

So what's new? - McGill University

The Legal Implications of Improved Space Situation Awareness and other Developments in Space Technology Dr Stuart Eves, SSTL The Space Debris Hazard Total mass of debris in Earth orbit is currently ~6,800 tonnes Close conjunctions occur frequently The OneWeb mega-constellation will operate at 1200 km altitude specifically to avoid the debris in

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites should deorbit within 25 years OneWeb >20,000 debris objects larger than 10 cm in Earth orbit Debris vs altitude TDS-1 before and after drag-sail Improved Space Situation Awareness

The new US Space Fence will detect smaller objects down to <5cm (perhaps 500,000) It will provide improved cueing for high accuracy sensors Better STC requires routine recording of ballistic coefficient, albedo, radar cross section etc. Also, spectral sensors are required to determine the material composition of the debris And we will also need sensors capable of observing object motion Space fence coverage Commercial STC entities Debris Removal A variety of technologies, including Mass drivers; Adhesives; Harpoons;

Lasers; Tethers; Nets; Grapplers; Propulsion plumes; Slingsats; and Deorbit sails have been suggested to remove large, long-lived debris objects All these concepts are technically immature and look like anti-satellite weapons in the wrong hands Net concept Mass driver concept Adhesive concept Propulsion plume concept Its unclear how these concepts would be financed, and the politics is hard too Slingsat concept

Harpoon concept Laser concept De-orbit sail Tether concep Grappler concept Space Debris As Fuel But supposing that we could use space debris as a propellant.. A team in Australia is developing a thruster that works by ionising metals (and carbon) and accelerating them

Mass-drivers have also been suggested, which can utilise almost any type of debris Space debris becomes an on-orbit resource Space Traffic Control (STC) data on the location of suitable pieces of debris suddenly increases in value Electric propulsion concept Mass-driver concept

Necropolis Concept Technical Requirements: Trackable and manoeuvrable Serviceable the Necropolis will need fuel Able to manage charging Able to passivate satellites arriving Able to process materials delivered to it Satellite Disposal Facility in Orbit Benefits: Significantly less satellite de-orbit propellant Lighter constellations fewer rockets required Less risky constellation disposal Potential for refuelling subsequent missions using recycled materials

Metals and/or carbon Legal Implications Need agreement that disposing of satellites in an approved necropolis is both legal and a responsible use of space Need agreement on the legal status of unclaimed debris Need agreement on whether owned debris can be salvaged and traded Need consensus on the potential transfer of legal responsibility if debris objects are salvaged Space Salvage Thank You

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