Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Deadly Debris

Deadly Debris

Back in February 2009, I posted to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond blog some
items dealing with space debris.

Chad sent me a link to Mike Combs short story, "Deadly Debris" which it
looks like DARPA should now read. A very riviting story.

In September DARPA released a Request for Information (RFI) regarding
orbital debris removal capabilities. Tiny URL for

Launchspace had an editorial
September 28, 2009 entitled Space Debris Gets Some Respect, which mentions
For the last few decades the international space community has freely used
near-Earth space for many important applications without regard for the
impact of artificial satellites on the space environment. Although
space-faring nations have spewed trash from 200 km to beyond 36,000 km, the
space below about 1,600 km has been severely abused. Recent events have
finally persuaded the U.S. Government to start thinking about cleaning up
this environmental "super fund site." No, it is not the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) that has been given the task of figuring out how to
remove space debris. It is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA), a part of the Department of Defense (DOD).

On September 17th, DARPA released a Request for Information (RFI) regarding
orbital debris removal capabilities. This request is addressed to all
potential domestic and foreign sources and it asks for innovative solutions
that might lead to the eventual removal of orbital debris.

If folks would like to participate in on-line discussions of topics like
Deadly Debris in space, Google has a way to do this with Google Wave.

It is by invitation only for now and MemphisDJ sent me an invitation so I
have been reading up on Google Wave, watching videos, and looking at some

I thought I would post this to a New Wave and if you have a Google Wave
account you can let me know what you think.
Title is: Deadly Debris!w%252B091sB_F2A.1

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
Google Wave Invite info:
Deadly Debris
By Mike Combs
Copyright © 1995

In a low Earth orbit, a glove slowly tumbled in the brilliant sunshine. The
glove's career as a tiny artificial satellite of the Earth began on the day
an astronaut of the early American space program had neglected to keep up
with it. While the spacewalker was distracted with other matters, the glove
had decided to venture out of the space capsule. By the time he took note of
this, it had drifted beyond his reach.

The orbiting item of apparel had even deserved mention in books and magazine
articles as an example of the kind of objects Space Command could track with
its space-scanning radars. The glove dutifully returned every radar signal
bounced up to it. As it rounded the blue-and-white globe below, it was privy
to the kind of view which had never failed to deeply move the humans who had
made it. The glove alternately warmed in the unimpeded rays of the sun and
chilled in the shadow of the Earth as it progressed through innumerable
ninety-minute days.

On this day, however, its circular journeys were coming to an end. The
glove's path was intersecting with that of a defunct Russian weather
satellite. It hit the bulky space platform almost dead-on with a velocity
which would have made a rifle bullet seem a dawdler. The metal and plastic
structure erupted with myriad pieces of debris. Mere minutes later, that
swarm of fragments began slamming into the abandoned lower stage of a rocket
launched over a decade ago. The giant cylinder pitched about crazily before
being riddled and then disintegrated by the densest part of the swarm. It
added its particles to the rapidly-moving cloud of space junk, and now the
swarm was more dangerous still. Satellites, both functional and long
disused, fell to the rapid attack and in turn became part of the Kamikaze
assault themselves. Like a splitting nucleus which split other nuclei which
split still more in an out-of-control nuclear chain reaction, the belt of
speeding debris grew and spread along its orbit, devastating everything in
its path.
* * *
Tiny URL for above

Solicitation Number:
Notice Type:
Special Notice
Added: Sep 17, 2009 4:58 pm
DARPA Orbital Debris Removal (ODR)

Request for Information
Tactical Technology Office (TTO)
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)


This is a Request for Information (RFI) by the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency (DARPA) Tactical Technology Office (TTO) regarding
implementation of an orbital debris removal capability. The Government does
not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay
for the information solicited. The Government may consider issuing a formal
solicitation at a later date.

Information is sought from all potential sources, domestic and foreign, on
innovative technological solutions that will enable the Government to
provide orbital debris removal capabilities and to identify interest and
qualification for participation in any future program.

Orbital Debris Quarterly News
Volume 13, Issue 1
January 2009

New Debris Seen from Decommissioned
Satellite with Nuclear Power Source




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