It is getting crowded in low Earth orbit, as space debris has become a major threat not only for satellites but also for the safe operations of the International Space Station (ISS). Currently, there are over 5500 satellites in space, of which more than half no longer work. Old satellites regularly break apart, and as a result, we now have now some 934,000 debris objects larger than 1 cm zooming around the Earth. These objects are a threat to the operational satellites we all rely on every day for communications, navigation and weather forecast.
We need to stop the growth of space debris and lower the number of dangerous objects in orbit, by removing old satellites and requiring that new satellites remove themselves at the end of their life. The European Space Agency actively works on this through its Clean Space initiative.
This lecture will first explain the space debris problem and show the solutions ESA and industrial players are developing. In the second part, we look at market demand and opportunities for active space debris removal and in-orbit satellite servicing. Refueling, repairing and augmenting satellite capabilities are new markets with new industrial players addressing the challenges of space debris.
This event is part of the RatioSpace Month in October. It is carried out under a programme of, and funded by the European Space Agency (ESA).
The event is free, but if you like what we`re doing, you can support us with a donation ticket or in Patreon:
💫 Michel van Pelt is Head of the Cost Engineering Section and a Concurrent Design Team Leader at the European Space Agency, ESA. He supports ESA’s Clean Space office with cost estimates, organizational involvement in several studies, and various outreach activities (ESTEC Open Day, media, Roosegaarde Space Waste Lab).
Michel is the author of a number of popular science books, of which ‘Dream Missions: Space Colonies, Nuclear Spacecraft and Other Possibilities’ is the most recent. He is an editor and writer for the Dutch space magazine ‘Ruimtevaart’, and his articles have appeared in ‘Aeroplane’, ‘Spaceflight’, and ‘Mars Exploration Magazine’. He regularly presents on space-related topics at public events.
💫 Dr. Stella Tkatchova is a Project Manager for a leading Belgian space company. Her expertise is in the commercialization of space technologies. She has worked on the Sentinel 1, Sentinel 3, GovSatcom, O3B, Galileo, and the International Space Station missions. Previously she has worked as a project manager for the European Commission (EC) and expert at ESA’s European Space and Technology Centre (ESTEC).
Several years ago she founded and was the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Space Technology Management & Innovation (IJSTMI). She has authored a few articles webinars and books about space technology commercialization with her latest one Emerging Space Markets published by Springer.