Astronomy and Space News - Astro Watch: Russian Technical University Proposes Using Traps for Space Debris Disposal

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Russian Technical University Proposes Using Traps for Space Debris Disposal


Specialists of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University have proposed using traps to dispose of space debris and will deliver a report at academic discussions on cosmonautics on January 29 - February 1 to describe two types of devices to bring medium and large space junk into the dense layers of the atmosphere.

"The project of a promising system of space junk disposal using a transformable mechanical trap has been developed. Two types of traps have been simulated to open up and their basic characteristics have been obtained," the report says.

Specialists believe that the project for a trap with mechanically deployable grabs holds promise as it enables clearing away debris from the outer space using one-off modules, each of which is disposed of after an operation.

"The first option of the trap envisages the availability of three transformable grabs while the second variant is equipped with three two-section grabs. The carbon fiber-reinforced plastic with high specific characteristics is considered as the material for the trap. Also, lattice structures are used to increase mass efficiency and cut the cost price of the product," the report says.

The whole trap weighs about two tonnes, is 0.7 m high in its folded position and the diameter of its base is 2.5 m.

Specialists have singled out several types of targeted space debris. Objects with the dimensions of more than 10 cm - there are over 30,000 of them - can be traced from Earth and, therefore, measures can be taken to avoid collisions.

Objects with the dimensions of 1 to 10 cm (there are 670,000 of them) are most of all dangerous because there is a high risk that satellites may be destroyed, if they collide with them while there are actually no possibilities to trace them.

Finally, there are objects with the dimensions of less than 1 cm (there are 170 million of them) and they are too small to destroy a satellite but can damage equipment.

Credit: TASS

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