a reply to: YouSir
Well, I looked into this a little bit...
There are over 1,900 tonnes of man made junk up there. The vast majority of that weight, is carried by 1,500 or so objects of over 100kg each in
The ISS however, only weighs 450 tonnes.
So there is a bit over three times as much material up there, just wasted and doing nothing, as there is in use on the ISS. So if we could somehow
collect, recycle and reconstitute that material into a useful form, we could be looking at having the largest piece of man made real estate up there
as a result. We could, perhaps, use it as the beginnings of an orbital shipyard.
Its also worth mentioning that some of the disused satellites up there have RTG cores, which, although spent, may still have viable radioisotopic
material in them, which, if correctly processed, could be turned into a new type of battery, involving sandwiching spent nuclear fuel elements,
between layers of dimpled silicon. I remember reading of this method a few years back, and it seemed to suggest that as particles are emitted from the
spent fuel, they pass through the silicon and their interaction with it, somehow balances out into an electric charge. If that technology could be
manufactured by automated systems on board a recovery craft, then those cores could be harvested to power systems on board the newly minted station.
Essentially, the idea here, would be to launch one spacecraft, which would collect material and resources from these defunct satellites and scrap
parts, and rebuild them into new configurations, as it makes its way around the orbit of Earth. So for one launch, we get a correction of a massive
problem, caused by inefficient launch systems used previously, and we also get a brand new piece of real estate.
Its just a thought, and I have voiced it here before. I still think its worth thinking about, even though its a total moonshot, and complicated as
hell to actually make work.