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Not a problem -- this time



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 29th 20, 08:52 PM posted to sci.space.policy
snidely
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Posts: 1,303
Default Not a problem -- this time

Two defunct orbital masses seem to have not collided.
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2020/10/leolabs-tracking-high-risk-collision-probability/

"Roughly one hour after the time of possible collision, LeoLabs
confirmed “No indication of collision” via a statement on Twitter.
[...]
Both objects, an old Soviet-era satellite and the upper stage of a
Chang Zheng 4C Chinese rocket, are inoperable and uncontrollable.
Therefore, there was no way to move one of them out of the way to avoid
the potential collision."

There's a lot of stuff up there like this. I know various sorts of
clean-up ideas have been floated. India has already demonstrated that
satellite-killer weapons aren't the answer (2019). Two "relatively
simple" ideas would be small satellites that dock with the corpse, and
either provide retro-rockets for a de-orbit burn, or inflate/extend
something to increase drag. These are likely viable only for the
lowest targets and may be limited in applicable sizing. The other
downside is that valuable materials are atomized during burn-up.

Space tugs can be used to collect corpses into a cemetary orbit, but we
don't have a lot of space tugs in use yet. A cemetary orbit would
allow future "mining" of the materials, but is probably not fun to
manage.

Then there's devices like the X-37B. Bring the corpse back intact and
near term. What are the [estimated] limits of the X-37B's orbital
reach? Is launch vehicle capability or re-entry profile the more
limiting factor?

What do you with ears to ground think will be a first viable
demonstration of debris control?

/dps


--
"This is all very fine, but let us not be carried away be excitement,
but ask calmly, how does this person feel about in in his cooler
moments next day, with six or seven thousand feet of snow and stuff on
top of him?"
_Roughing It_, Mark Twain.
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  #2  
Old October 30th 20, 12:43 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Dean Markley
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Posts: 515
Default Not a problem -- this time

On Friday, October 30, 2020 at 4:24:42 AM UTC-4, JF Mezei wrote:
On 2020-10-29 15:52, Snidely wrote:
Two defunct orbital masses seem to have not collided.

If 2 satellites, devoid of any fuel, one in retrograde and the other in
normal orbit, both on same plane and roughly same mass, ended up
colliding face to face, what would happen?

So we end up with a flat pankake that has 0 speed and drops straight down?

Behave as two tennis balls that bounce off each other, with the
retrograde now in normal orbit and the normal orbit SV now in retrograde?

Nuclear fission explosion that creates a black hole and sucks all of the
universe?


When a car hits a cement wall at speed, it doesn't tend to explode into
a billion bits flying out. Right? Just curious on what the actual
behavious of a satellte would be. Is the energy level such that his is
no longer a mechanical collision, and it behaves very differently?

In the case of more likely collision (a 50° satellite hitting a nearly
equatorial orbit for instance) would the satellite really spread debris
all over the place or would they remain more or less whole (with big
deformation where collision happened) and just see their
trajectory/orbit changed?


The Indian ASAT test ought to be a clear answer to your speculation.
  #3  
Old October 31st 20, 01:45 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Alain Fournier[_3_]
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Posts: 548
Default Not a problem -- this time

On Oct/30/2020 at 07:43, Dean Markley wrote :
On Friday, October 30, 2020 at 4:24:42 AM UTC-4, JF Mezei wrote:
On 2020-10-29 15:52, Snidely wrote:
Two defunct orbital masses seem to have not collided.

If 2 satellites, devoid of any fuel, one in retrograde and the other in
normal orbit, both on same plane and roughly same mass, ended up
colliding face to face, what would happen?

So we end up with a flat pankake that has 0 speed and drops straight down?

Behave as two tennis balls that bounce off each other, with the
retrograde now in normal orbit and the normal orbit SV now in retrograde?

Nuclear fission explosion that creates a black hole and sucks all of the
universe?


When a car hits a cement wall at speed, it doesn't tend to explode into
a billion bits flying out. Right? Just curious on what the actual
behavious of a satellte would be. Is the energy level such that his is
no longer a mechanical collision, and it behaves very differently?

In the case of more likely collision (a 50° satellite hitting a nearly
equatorial orbit for instance) would the satellite really spread debris
all over the place or would they remain more or less whole (with big
deformation where collision happened) and just see their
trajectory/orbit changed?


The Indian ASAT test ought to be a clear answer to your speculation.


Yes, the Indian (but also the Chinese and US) ASAT test gives a good
practical answer. But there are some interesting interactions going on
that, even if their practical implications are small, are interesting.
If two satellites, one prograde the other retrograde collide with a
collision speed of twice orbital velocity, at the point of impact, you
don't have metal bending like in a car accident. You have metal
vaporising, the result is more like an explosion than like a car
accident. That explains why the two don't just end up with zero velocity
and fall down. But it gets a little more complicated and more interesting.

As the ASAT test showed, some of the debris of the collision will end up
in an orbit with higher apogee than either the satellites had, meaning
that they end up with higher velocity. But the front of the satellite
obviously collides before the back of the satellite and it will start
being scattered in all direction while the back of the satellite hasn't
really had time to realize that it is in a collision. The front of the
satellite will scatter with some pieces having higher velocity than the
original satellites. So the back of the of the satellite can hit some
pieces of the front of the satellite with a collision speed even higher
than twice orbital velocity. This can give an even more explosive
collision, albeit with smaller pieces. This process can even be
multi-staged. The front of the satellite hits the front of the other
satellite, the middle of the satellite hits debris from the front of the
satellite with higher velocities and the the back of the satellite hits
the debris from the middle of the satellite with a yet again a higher
impact speed. Of course at each stage the debris hitting farther behind
parts of the satellite get smaller, but you can get some very small
pieces (individual atoms) completely ejected from Earth's gravity well
that way.

But all the pieces will end up in an orbit that passes by the collision
point (except tiny pieces which could be ejected from Earth's gravity
well). Essentially all pieces will have a perigee that will be lower
than the collision point. So, if the collision point is close to the
atmosphere, all pieces should be de-orbited in relatively short order.
But if the collision point is higher, you can have pieces with perigee
near the height of the collision point and apogee much higher. That can
be debris that will stay in orbit for a very long time.


Alain Fournier
 




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