Nearly 2,000 of the 23,803 objects larger than 10 centimeters orbiting the Earth are permanently in the Luxembourg sky. 23,803 plus 1,500 since Russia allegedly carried out anti-satellite fire from its snow-capped steppes, atomizing its Cosmos 1408 satellite, which has only operated for six months since its entry into service on September 16, 1982.
In a tweet, the Russian space agency said the International Space Station was forced to change orbit without specifying the reason for this emergency procedure – which has already taken place three times in 2020 and 25 times since 1999. But the American authorities are convinced: it is the fault of the Russians.
“The United States will work with its allies and partners to respond to Russia’s irresponsible act,” the State Department responded Monday evening.
Over 100 million pieces of debris
The problem is not new. Pressurized by
a publication by Donald Kessler in 1978
, NASA launched the “Orbital Debris Program Office” in 1979 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. According to the scientist, by launching rockets, satellites and other engines without worrying about their future, the Earth will end up surrounded by a large belt of debris that prevented any future launch.
Today, if we often mention the figure of 23,000 debris (over 10cm), there are also 500,000 debris less than one centimeter and a hundred million debris between one and ten centimeters.
CisLuna comes out the back door
Still Minister of the Economy, Etienne SchneiderLSAP) had succeeded in attracting to Luxembourg in April 2018 a start-up from Denver, CisLunar Industries, which has been in liquidation since the beginning of the year. To its American board, since the activity continues in the United States after
she was selected by NASA
, figure Gary Martin, one of the space advisers of the Luxembourg Space Agency.
The Russian incident comes a few days, Thursday, of a new American defense exercise, in which is involved another actor spotted by the former Deputy Prime Minister, the Canadian start-up NorthStar. Its CEO, Stewart Bain, is still seeking $ 2.4 billion for his constellation of 52 Skylark satellites, but this summer he got the frequencies and clearance he needs from Canadian authorities. With these particular satellites, the Canadian has a strategy: to increase the number of alerts from 600,000 per year for two objects distant from 100km to 10,000 per year when they are less than three kilometers away.
NorthStar trains with the Guardians
The research center in Luxembourg made all the more sense, in addition to the research facilities, as two of the first investors in the adventure also formed the “Space Alliance”, namely Thales Alenia Space (Thales 67%, Leonardo 33%) another friend from Luxembourg and Telespazio (Leonardo 67%, Thales 33%).
The start-up was invited to
one of the “sprints” organized by the American Armed Forces
. Since the creation, by Donald Trump, of a sixth branch of the American armed forces in 2019, the US Space Force, the “Guardians” have accelerated their training through full-scale joint exercises and can join private companies selected on the component and the partners of the Americans, in which the cadets react in real time to all the scenarios of the new space war that is emerging.
Thursday, the war game consisted of mitigating the consequences of a collision with a piece of space debris. During the previous sprint, the Americans had desorbed an object to put the Guardians and their partners in a real situation.