Mission: Space Debris

Rumour has it that Amelia is building a Death Star. It is a very serious project, and because of that she has been appointed as the main rapporteur from the European Commission for a report on Space Surveillance and Tracking with regards to Space Debris.

Space Junk, also known formally as “Space Debris” are all man made objects in space that do no longer serve a function. They just float on 10 km/s around the orbit and heighten the risk of damaging to functional satellites and spacecrafts. There's a lot of junk up there, especially after the Chinese anti-satellite missile test in 2007 when the Chinese space agency controlled a collision of a Chinese satellite by a kinetic kill vehicle. This collision alone created more than 2,000 debris and raised the amount of debris significantly.

How is it possible to prevent further developments of space debris in the space? It's difficult, but there are ideas with funky lasers or robotic arms to remove debris from our orbit. But right now, the most viable solution is to track the known space debris, building powerful radars and gather data on where everything is in the Orbit. With this data it is possible to move satellites away from possible danger and avoid the creation of more debris, also known as the Kessler syndrome, when debris create more debris.

One might think that it's easy. Technically, it is possible to create radars, keep track on what's happening and collect data. However, the military has their own defense satellites up there and other countries have their own satellites up there. Those parties are not necessarily very happy with the fact that they are traceable. It is also a question about data policies regarding the acquired data, who can access it and how should the member state share it?

International, European and national politics intertwine in space. It is an established fact that it is important to prevent further collisions as much as possible, but when it comes to space it is not clear cut how to operate. The EU legislations for space has so far been very undeveloped, so it's a challenge to find the right balance between European and national politics as well as global, to build trust and interdependence. This is after all, a global issue which will require cooperation and mutual understanding.

Exciting report, not only because we get to meet loads of amazing space people from European Space Agency and other space companies, but also because it'll definitely give us a good kick start in Amelia's Death Star mission! I'll keep you updated with how the process is going for the upcoming weeks :) 


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