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Remote laser to sweep away space debris

Space debris has become a concern and requires an immediate solution where satellite junk endangers future space aviation in lower Earth orbit (LEO) and these fragments can not be controlled. A team demonstrates how to exert force on the object of free falling debris from a distance by blurring the material with a high energy laser system.

Debris in the lower earth orbit poses a serious threat to future space programs including the international space station (ISS) having to do some maneuvers per year to avoid debris gradually falling to Earth.

Penelitian Remote laser to sweep away space debris

Several hundred kilometers to about 1500 kilometers above the earth's surface are human flight, Hubble space telescope, weather satellite, global communications satellite, scientific satellite mission and so on. The high density of the space debris in the LEO orbit is not accidental, since most of the debris is caused by human activity.

The Iridium Cosmos collision in 2009 not only caused huge losses, but also created a smaller number of new fragments. Even small fragments with a diameter of several mm can damage the satellite or cause a disaster in the domino effect because small fragments with a few centimeter or less diameter are not likely to be traced using current technology.



One of the proposed ways to control the debris is a high energy laser shot. Researchers at the Institut für Technische Physik in Stuttgart reported a thrust effect on a scale from laser gun simulation and led to an increase in speed above 0.3 m / s per laser pulse in a micro gravity environment.

Journal : Raoul-Amadeus Lorbeer et al. Experimental verification of high energy laser-generated impulse for remote laser control of space debris, Scientific Reports, 31 May 2018, DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-26336-1

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