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Dr Space Junk throws down the gauntlet to the Australian space community on orbital debris

4 Sep 2011, 07:29 UTC
Dr Space Junk throws down the gauntlet to the Australian space community on orbital debris
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Well, I exaggerate a little.Last week the National Council of Research in the US released a report calling on NASA to get serious about orbital debris.Ashley Hall, a journalist from ABC's PM current affairs programme, called me for comment. You can listen to the interview here. He also talks to orbital debris guru Donald Kessler.At the end of the interview, I make a case that Australia should become more than a passive observer to the efforts of the space agencies and the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee.There are a number of reasons why this makes perfect sense:1. Australia has a number of non-operational and functioning assets in space: FedSat, Australis Oscar V, and the Aussat/Optus telecommunications satellites. We rely very heavily on satellite services. Orbital debris is a problem for us as much as anyone. 2. Orbital debris often re-enters over Australia - a function of our large landmass and location.3. Because of both the above factors, not to mention plenty of radio-quiet space and political stability, Australia is ideally suited to host tracking and surveillance facilities (which we have done, and still do, a lot of).4. We have a great track record in tracking expertise, and have local industries ...

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