Space debris Essay

To what extent is the combination of Electrodynamic tether and laser methods more efficient than foam method for removing the space debris in Low Earth Orbit (LEO)?

Introduction:

Since the launch of the first satellite in 1957, the number of space objects has increased dramatically, resulting in an increasing number of space debris. According to Shan et al. (2015, 19), the number of space objects larger than 10 centimeters in 2015 exceeds 17",000, of which space debris accounts for 77%. In particular, LEO has the largest amount of space debris, that is about 75",000 fragments,including 40",000 pieces of space debris ranging from 1 cm to 10 cm and 14",000 pieces of space debris larger than 14 cm. (Ahmed Mohamed and Mohamad Ali 2015, 1592). Currently, this number is still increasing, it may be due to newly launched satellites, but mainly to self-collisions between existing space objects. (D.J.Kessler quoted in Shan et al. 2015, 19).

If this process keeps continuous, LEO may block access to higher orbits since most of the space debris is concentrated in low Earth orbit which will have a negative impact on both society and academia. For society, it may negatively affect civil services, such as communication, timing, positioning and navigation services, and also threaten human security. (Lindstrom and Muhlenatter 2017, 5). For academia, it poses a series of dangers to satellites, spacecraft, and astronauts who walk in space, because even a small piece of junk may harm them, which will make space exploration and future missions impossible. ( Ahmed Mohamed and Mohamad Ali 2015, 1592).

There are many methods to remove space debris and each one of them has their pros and cons but, as a limitation of word account, only 3 types of them, which are Electrodynamic Tether method, laser method and foam method respectively, will be discussed in this paper. Although the foam method is capable of handling space debris of different sizes, the combination of Electrodynamic Tether (EDT) and Laser methods might be more efficient in terms of cost and time consuming, also they each have their own strengths for space debris of different sizes which can complement each other.

Outline:

Combination of Electrodynamic Tether (EDT) and laser methods;

1.1 EDT method;

1.1.1 Working principle of EDT; (Ishigea et al. 2004, 917-918) 1.1.2 Suitable Target Debris;

1.1.3 Other advantages and disadvantages; (Pardini et al. 2009, 3) and (Shan et al. 2016, 26-27)

1.2 Laser method;

1.2.1 Working principle of laser method; (Shan et al. 2016, 28)

1.2.2 Suitable Target Debris; (Shan et al. 2016, 28)

1.2.3 Other advantages and disadvantages; (Shan et al. 2016, 17-18)

1.3 Combination of EDT and laser methods;

2. Foam method;

2.1 Working principle of foam method; (Shan et al. 2016, 26-27) 2.2 Suitable Target Debris; (Andrenucci 2011)

2.3 Other advantages and disadvantages; (Andrenucci 2011)

3. Evaluation

3.1 Cost;

3.1.1 Cost of EDT method;(Johnson and Herrmann 1998, 23)

3.1.2 Cost of Laser method; (Wen 2017",160)

3.1.3 Cost of foam method; (Andrenucci 2011)

3.2 Time estimation for removing the space debris;

3.2.1 Time estimation for foam method (Andrenucci 2011)

3.2.2 Time estimation for EDT method (Ishigea et al. 2004, 920)

3.2.3 Time estimation for laser method (Shan et al. 2016, 28)

Annotated source:

Shan, Minghe, Jian Guo, and Eberhard Gill. 2016. “Review and Comparison of Active Space Debris Capturing and Removal Methods.” Progress in Aerospace Sciences 80 (January): 18–32. doi:10.1016/j.paerosci.2015.11.001.

In this peer-reviewed journal article Shan et al. review and compare different kinds of capturing and removal methods for active debris removal. The main author Minghe Shan is a Ph.D. candidate of Department of Space Engineering, Delft University of Technology. He has a broad experience on presenting works at many national and International conferences and his contributions have acclaimed from honorable subject experts around the world. The article was published in 2016 which means information such as numerical information in this article is up-to-date, so the article is credible. The article showed a detailed analysis of 17 kinds of capturing and removal methods. Particularly, 7 kinds of capturing methods and 10 kinds of removal methods which made me understand the difference between these two main methods. Since my topic is related to removal methods, this article helped me know about various kinds of removal methods and their advantages and disadvantages. It also allowed me to make my initial analysis to select the most efficient ones. The main audience of this research work could be anyone interested in the aerospace field. The article was useful on body section as it introduced information about all three methods that I mentioned in my outline.

2) Mariano, Andrenucci, Pergola.P, and Ruggiero.A. 2011. Active Removal of Space Debris Expanding foam application for active debris removal (Final report). Accessed January 16, 2019. https://www.esa.int/gsp/ACT/doc/ARI/ARI%20Study%20Report/ACT-RPT-MAD-ARI-10-6411-Pisa-Active_Removal_of_Space_Debris-Foam.pdf

This report was written by M.Andrenucci, P.Pergola, and A.Ruggiero and was published in 2011. The main author Mariano Andrenucci is a Professor of Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Pisa. The second author Pierpaolo Pergola has a Ph.D. degree and is an expert at Aerospace Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering. The third author Alessandro Ruggiero gained his Ph.D. degree in Mechanics for Machines in 2017; There are more than 150 scientific papers that he has authored in international level. They worked with European Space Agency, therefore this source can be considered as government study. There are 128 sources, which are mostly academic and professional journals, contained in the reference list. From the points mentioned above, it can be concluded that the report is credible. This report is mainly focused on characteristics of the expanding foam method for removing space debris, it presented a comprehensive description and analysis about the foam method, for example, the cost, time estimation for removing the space debris, suitable targets were mentioned in this report which can support my second body paragraph that listed on the outline. The main audience of this research work is likely to be experts, astronautical engineers, and other space scientists.

3) Pardini, Carmen, Toshiya Hanada, and Paula H. Krisko. 2009. “Benefits and Risks of Using Electrodynamic Tethers to De-Orbit Spacecraft.” Acta Astronautica 64 (January): 571–88. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2008.10.007.

In this article from a scientific peer-reviewed journal, Pardini et al. presented the potential benefits and risks of Electrodynamic tether in de-orbiting mission. The main author Carmen Pardini got a post-doctoral fellowship in mission analysis and astrodynamics at the Institute of Information Science and Technologies (ISTI) in Pisa. She has helped some space missions and national civil protection authorities in the technical aspect. The main audience of this research work is Aeronautical, astronautical engineers and other space scientists. In this article, it was mentioned that the most considerable potential risk of EDT is low survival probability of a single tether since some space debris either big or small might collide with the tether and cut the tether which probably results in the EDT be uncontrollable and fragmented to space debris. The suggested solution for this risk is a double tether, and the survival probability of double tether was tested twice by using the computational methods of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This kind of experimental results can be good evidence for my thesis statement, therefore it will be used in the first body paragraph.

Research questions:

What method is cost efficient (fuel cost etc.)?

What method uses less time?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the methods?

What method is suitable for debris that larger than 10cm (first need to remove larger debris)?

Will the methods generate more debris while removing/capturing debris?

Reference list:

Ahmed Mohamed, Fatima, and Noor Azian Mohamad Ali. 2015. “Space Debris Low Earth Orbit (LEO).” International Journal of Science and Research 4 (1): 1591-1594. Accessed January 15, 2019. https://www.ijsr.net/archive/v4i1/SUB15436.pdf

Ishige, Yuuki, Satomi Kawamoto, and Seishiro Kibe. 2004. “Study on Electrodynamic Tether System for Space Debris Removal.” Acta Astronautica 55 (January): 917–929. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2004.04.015.

Les, Johnson, and Herrmann.M 1998. International Space Station Electrodynamic Tether Reboost Study. Accessed January 16, 2019. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19980223479.pdf

Lindstrom, Gustav, and Laurent Muhlematter. 2017. “The Rising Challenge of Space Debris.” Strategic Security Analysis 7: 1-8. Accessed January 16, 2019. https://www.gcsp.ch/News-Knowledge/Publications/The-Rising-Challenge-of-Space-Debris

Mariano, Andrenucci, Pergola.P, and Ruggiero.A. 2011. Active Removal of Space Debris Expanding foam application for active debris removal (Final report). Accessed January 16, 2019. https://www.esa.int/gsp/ACT/doc/ARI/ARI%20Study%20Report/ACT-RPT-MAD-ARI-10-6411-Pisa-Active_Removal_of_Space_Debris-Foam.pdf

Pardini, Carmen, Toshiya Hanada, and Paula H. Krisko. 2009. “Benefits and Risks of Using Electrodynamic Tethers to De-Orbit Spacecraft.” Acta Astronautica 64 (January): 571–88. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2008.10.007.

Shan, Minghe, Jian Guo, and Eberhard Gill. 2016. “Review and Comparison of Active Space Debris Capturing and Removal Methods.” Progress in Aerospace Sciences 80 (January): 18–32. doi:10.1016/j.paerosci.2015.11.001.

Wen, Jialin. 2017. “Analysing Costs of Space Debris Removal in Basis of Three Kinds of Methods.” International Journal of Economics and Finance 9 (8): 151-161. doi:10.5539/ijef.v9n8p151

How to cite this essay: