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Space Junk Forces Shuttle Discovery to Dodge on Way Home

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posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 11:23 AM
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Space Junk Forces Shuttle Discovery to Dodge on Way Home


www.space.com

The space shuttle Discovery will have to dodge a mysterious piece of orbital trash before trying to land in Florida Thursday.

Shuttle commander Rick Sturckow and pilot Kevin Ford will fire Discovery's thrusters at about 12:02 p.m. EDT (1605 GMT) to move their spacecraft clear of the space junk and continue on with their planned landing attempt today.

The "mystery orbital debris," ... apparently came free from the shuttle or the International Space Station...
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
tinyurl.com
tinyurl.com

[edit on 9/10/2009 by drphilxr]




posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 11:23 AM
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Well, the follow up comments should (hopefully there will be) be good, as some eagle eyed ATS members may be able to snag a video clip from an obscure nasa server (before it dissappears) and then be able to suggest this is an extra terrestrial/ dimensional craft.

Or it could just be junk. Let the fun begin.

Apologies if this is already posted, the moderators will sure
let me know (not on breaking news yet)...

www.space.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 11:26 AM
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Are we going to need to put a plow on the front of the shuttle? Though I think a phase cannon that shoots it away would be much cooler.

But my immediate thought was Wall-E.



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 11:35 AM
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reply to post by nixie_nox
 


And this is why the space shuttle needs a nose gun. 30 mike mike contact fuzed HE would be PLENTY to send something flapping off into space.



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 11:59 AM
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I just found this really interesting article about space junk and the Kessler Syndrome:

linky

I suspect that come the next global war, satellite infrastructure will be among the top targets. How reliant are we on it?

(Edit to fix link)

[edit on 10-9-2009 by mattpryor]



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 12:18 PM
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Awsome large white orange glowing orb cruising down the east coast. The shuttle was clearly visible here in the northeast as it came down headed for Florida.



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 12:19 PM
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Originally posted by mattpryor
I just found this really interesting article about space junk and the Kessler Syndrome:

ttp://www.cydeweys.com/blog/2007/01/18/china-creates-space-debris-intentionally/

I suspect that come the next global war, satellite infrastructure will be among the top targets. How reliant are we on it?


Very possibly, it will be THE top target.
As for how reliant we are on it, the military uses GPSS to coordinate tactical and theater level troop movements, to guide PGMs, and, of course, for long-range navigation of bombers and transports. Satellite communications are vital to the US military's operations, and satellite reconnaissance is about the only strategic intelligence source we have left after we've gutted our human intelligence networks (spies, to use a short word), and retired the SR-71. Satellite weather data is vital to operational planning, as well. In short, if we totally lost our satellite systems, the military would be in deep (something I can't say due to the profanity censor).

The civilian side of things wouldn't be much better off. Telephone and television systems would be severely degraded, as would any radio beyond local programming. The financial system would have a seizure when the data links went *poof*, and even the transportation industry would take a hit (you'd be surprised at how many trains, long-haul trucks, and even barge tows are tracked by satellite systems so that companies can keep up-to-date on exactly where their inventory is at any given time.

It's too late to make this particular long story short, but the Cliff's Notes version is that if we were to lose all our satellites, both the military and civilian sectors would have a serious meltdown.



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 12:21 PM
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reply to post by mattpryor
 


So I'm no astronaut, some may say a space cadet, but wouldn't it be possible to sent an unmanned craft up into orbit with the specific objective of "collecting" space junk?

Possibly using electromagnets on retractable tethers to capture and secure items to the structure for removal by a visiting space shuttle (or whatever replaces the shuttle) crew at a later date? The shuttle can also carry spare fuel for the onboard thrusters on the satellite to extend the operational life, because i would imagine that it would require both planning of orbit paths and maneuvering to accomplish

I don't think it would work for full satellites, simply because of the size, but in the junk field that china created, it seems to me like it could work because each of the parts are significantly smaller than the satellite as a whole.

but hey, I haven't had my coffee yet this morning so maybe i'm just not thinking clearly.



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 12:27 PM
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I can't believe the amount of trouble we always seem to have going in and out of space..

Its been 50 years ffs.



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 12:35 PM
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Originally posted by Griever0311
reply to post by nixie_nox
 


And this is why the space shuttle needs a nose gun. 30 mike mike contact fuzed HE would be PLENTY to send something flapping off into space.


That's a Really Bad Idea (tm) on several levels.
From an engineering standpoint, such an installation would require a massive rebuild of the entire orbiter. There isn't any spare room in the nose of the vehicle. Actually, I stand corrected, there is some spare room. You might be able to fit a box of Kleenex into the voids in the nose cap. You would not, however, have nearly enough room to fit a 30mm cannon (or even a .308 Winchester). While we're rebuilding the nose to accommodate the cannon, don't forget that we'll need room for the ammo, the ammo feeds, and the expended brass. Speaking of that expended brass, we'll need to design a system to capture it in zero-G, and make sure that it drifts clear of the breech (and STAYS clear).

While the armorers are redesigning the front of the orbiter to make room for the cannon and its supporting hardware, the rest of the design team can be rebuilding the aft sections of the orbiter to make room for a lot more maneuvering fuel. We'll need to expend some fuel to counter the recoil of the gun, or every shot will change our reentry trajectory...*not* a good thing. We'll also need to expend fuel to aim the gun (the technical issues with making it a turret mount are giving me a nosebleed). Once they've got those chores done, we'll need to beef up the mid-body to take the extra stress, and then we'll need to either a) massively reduce per-mission payload weight to compensate for several tons of additional mass or b) design new SSMEs and or SRBs to increase takeoff thrust to get the newer, heavier orbiter into orbit. That will require a new External Tank, and a reconfiguring of the launch pad support systems.

Whew...assuming we can do all of that, we still have to come up with some way to make sure that, having gotten the Armed Shuttle into orbit, we can get it back without having reentry heat do horrible things to the muzzle of the gun...but compared to the engineering required to get *to* orbit, developing and installing a movable ceramic tile "shutter" for the gun port is remarkably simple. (That thudding noise you heard in the background is my friend, the aerodynamics expert passing out.)

At this point, we'd be better off building a new shuttle (orbiter, boosters, and tank) from scratch, except that there isn't the money in the budget to get close to doing that.

Assuming (by some miracle) we can get the Armed Shuttle designed and built, it's *still* a bad idea. That 30mm ammunition isn't going away. Let's say you fired a 3 round burst at a bit of threatening space junk. Even if all three rounds hit, and their contact fusing initiated, you've just created a very dangerous little cloud of shrapnel that's going to hang around in orbit for a long time....and if one of those rounds *misses*, you have a potentially shuttle-destroying (or ISS crippling) little kinetic-kill weapon orbiting up there...and just to make life more interesting, it's too small to be tracked (and to have its orbit plotted) from the ground...making it a really nice surprise for future space missions.


In short, no guns for the Shuttle, please.



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by -NewSense-
I can't believe the amount of trouble we always seem to have going in and out of space..

Its been 50 years ffs.


As someone who was a firefighter for 13 years, I can tell you that we still have plenty of problems building houses...and we've been doing that for what? 6000 years or so?


For that matter, we have trouble handling automobile traffic (see also: any major metro area at rush epoch), and we've been dealing with that for most of a century.

Commercial air travel still has it's kinks, and we've been doing *that* for over 60 years.

Given our track record (and Murphy's persistent streak) with things that are a long 'longer in the tooth' and a lot simpler, why is it surprising that space travel is still occasionally hit with problems?



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 12:56 PM
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reply to post by IntelRetard
 


Not sure what you was seeing but it wasnt the Shuttle landing at Cape Canaveral, thats not due for another 5 hours and Discovery is still in Orbit.



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 01:05 PM
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reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


Hmm... I'm from the school of thought that if you shoot them enough, problems go away. I stand corrected. Touche, sir.



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 01:45 PM
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reply to post by mattpryor
 


superb scientific factoid, i will now try looking into the kessler

syndrome. but statistically one would postulate it would be

numerically improbable for even tens of thousands of pieces

of debris (wiki's article states around 13,000 objects, and one

can check this if i remember on the military's norad space command info site)

to impact each other. Still, this is apparently probable, including

the china long march's destruction for politicomilitary purposes....

(couldn't it backfire on China?)

en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 01:47 PM
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reply to post by digger2381
 


good hypotheses, but imagine the distances involved, and all

EM radiation (including electromagnetism) drops off by the square

of the distance....perhaps a roving 'pool cleaning' like robot in space

could trawl for junk, forming its own planetismal with time...cool.



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 01:47 PM
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In order to mitigate the generation of additional space debris, a number of measures have been proposed: The passivation of spent upper stages by the release of residual fuels is aimed at reducing the risk of on-orbit explosions that could generate thousands of additional debris objects.

Taking satellites out of orbit at the end of their operational life would also be an effective mitigation measure. This could be facilitated with a "terminator tether," an electrodynamic tether that is rolled out, and slows down the spacecraft.[21] In cases when a direct (and controlled) de-orbit would require too much fuel, a satellite can also be brought to an orbit where atmospheric drag would cause it to de-orbit after some years. Such a maneuver was successfully performed with the French Spot-1 satellite, bringing its time to atmospheric reentry down from a projected 200 years to about 15 years by lowering its perigee from 830 km (516 mi) to about 550 km (342 mi).[22]


(from wiki article on space debris)
[edit on 9/10/2009 by drphilxr]

[edit on 9/10/2009 by drphilxr]



posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 03:48 PM
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Originally posted by Griever0311
reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


Hmm... I'm from the school of thought that if you shoot them enough, problems go away. I stand corrected. Touche, sir.


I've got more than a few credit-hours from that school myself!


The basic idea (actively interdicting space debris) isn't necessarily a bad one...your post got my over-active imagination in gear. I don't think the Shuttle orbiter would be a good platform for the system (for the weight and space problems I mentioned), and I don't think firing more solid objects into orbit is a good idea. On the other manipulator, the idea of mounting a medium-powered directed energy weapon and a small nuclear power pack for it on the ISS might work. The weapon wouldn't have to be potent enough to vaporize its target, just powerful enough to cause orbital shifts through energy transfer and / or partial vaporization. The ISS could then act as a 'janitor', cleaning up the worst of the debris, and having at least a last-ditch self-defense capability.

The obvious downsides would be the all-too-predictable screams of outrage over the 'militarization of space', and over the idea of orbiting a nuclear power system. I'll be starting my stopwatch and getting some popcorn ready for those as soon as I post this. Just to be a smart-a...errr...alec, I think I'll nuke the popcorn!




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