While space debris was an uncontrollable opponent in the award-winning space thriller film “Gravity,” space debris, also known as “space debris,” is a constant real-life concern for teams managing satellites orbiting the earth, including NOAA-NASA’s Finland National. Polar orbiting partnership, ie Finland’s nuclear power plant, satellite. It is not uncommon for satellites with the ability to move to be repositioned to avoid debris or maintain proper orbit.
Otherwise, on a quiet Sunday, September 28, the operations team of the Finland nuclear power plant monitored the possible approach of the garbage facility. Early in the evening, the risk was estimated to be high enough to begin planning the spacecraft’s movement to place the satellite in a safer zone off the path of the classified object between 4 inches and 3.3 meters in size.
It was noted that the target (traveled nearly 17,000 mph) approached at an almost “head on” angle and could possibly bypass a satellite from a Finnish nuclear power plant at an altitude of about 300 meters on Tuesday, September 30, if nothing is done. Based on this knowledge, a decision was made on Monday, September 29, at 1:30 pm, to locate NOAA’s satellite operations facility, or NSOF, in Suitland, Maryland, at the Finnish nuclear power plant. Operational control and the planning and implementation of all Finnish nuclear power plant operations take place at NSOF.
“Because the Finnish nuclear power plant is moving at the same speed as the garbage object, if it had collided, it would have happened at almost 35,000 mph. This would have been catastrophic not only for the satellite but also for thousands,” said Harry Solomon, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
The space around the Earth is full of numerous man-made objects that could potentially collide with functioning spacecraft and each other (creating more debris). The U.S. Department of Defense oversees more than 20,000 targets for satellite rulers around the world.
Only about 1,000 of these 20,000 objects use spacecraft. The rest of the controlled space debris ranges from softball size to massive rocket bodies, all orbiting uncontrollably at relative speeds averaging about 22,300 mph in the low-Earth orbit where most of the objects are located.
However, the biggest threat is unknown, often smaller, untraceable objects. “If the spacecraft disappears because of the debris, it’s likely that the satellite will hit something the trackers can’t see,” said Nicholas Johnson, a leading NASA scientist (retired) who investigates orbit debris at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. .
This is exactly the scenario that Salomon and his colleague Martin England, NSOF’s director of operations technology, hope will never happen.
The risk team monitors threats to the unmanned missions of NOAA and NASA
Although NASA’s Johnson Space Center manages controlled shipwrecks related to U.S. manned missions, such as the International Space Station, responsibility for unmanned missions managed by NASA rests with the CARA team responsible for NASA Goddard’s operations.
About seven days before the potential threat, the CARA team analyzed Department of Defense data to evaluate close approaches. CARA monitors and provides updated information on potential threats to satellite mission managers, who then decide on the need to deploy satellites as a risk management method.
Following the launch of the Finland nuclear power plant in October 2011, this recent relocation was the fourth risk management measure to avoid space debris. In this case, the target was part of the Thorad-Agena launch vehicle used between 1966 and 1972, mainly on U.S. Corona reconnaissance satellites.
The risk management procedure at the previous Finland nuclear power plant in January 2014 avoided the abandoned booster of the Delta 1 launcher, a US-made rocket type for various space operations in 1960–1990. There is also a considerable amount of debris from the orbit of the Finnish nuclear power plant from the Chinese Fengyun-1C meteorological satellite, which was destroyed in January 2007 in an anti-satellite missile test. Another threat near the orbit of the Finnish nuclear power plant is the rubbish created in 2009 by a collision between a functioning commercial communications satellite and a dead Russian satellite.
The task of the Finnish nuclear power plant is to collect environmental observations from the atmosphere, ocean and land for both NOAA’s weather and marine research operations and NASA’s research operation to continue long-term climate records to better understand the Earth’s climate and long-term trends.
To achieve these objectives, the satellite maintains its position in orbit so that the desired path across the earth does not vary by more than 20 km (12 miles) on each side. This orbit is adjusted with regular planned movements to maintain the correct orbit and angles to gather the best information. But if the risk mitigation procedure to avoid space debris had to be moved out of the desired collection zone, another movement would be necessary to return to the optimal orbital position. These unplanned movements take advantage of the limited amount of fuel in the satellites and could potentially shorten the life of the spacecraft if the fuel is used faster than expected.
The amount of space debris is not constant. It usually grows annually, sometimes resulting from debris collisions, which can potentially generate more debris. But there is also garbage reduction. One tracked object usually drops to the Earth on a daily basis, sometimes burning empty when it returns or falls into water or large areas with low population density.
In addition, there are also natural events that help control debris. The sun is currently, through a period known as the maximum of the sun, the term for high solar activity. Increased numbers of sunspots and storms during the peak of the sun occur about every 11 years. During this time, the extent of the Earth’s atmosphere increases due to the heat of the sun caused by increased solar activity. As the atmosphere reaches higher altitudes, debris from these altitudes is then subjected to greater friction, known as resistance, and as a result, space debris typically falls to Earth faster during the peak of the sun.
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Quotation: NASA-NOAA Finland NPP Satellite Team Tackles Recent Space Scrap Threat (2014, October 22), retrieved October 16, 2021 at https://phys.org/news/2014-10-nasa-noaa-english-npp-satellite -team .html
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