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Selenian Boondocks

Random Thoughts: Space Debris Cleanup Funding Mechanism

9 Dec 2015, 16:59 UTC
Random Thoughts: Space Debris Cleanup Funding Mechanism
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Ever since that Kosmos spacecraft t-boned an Iridium spacecraft a few years back, more and more people have been paying attention to the space debris issue. We’ve been able to live with the nuisance caused by space debris for a long time, but space debris, especially in LEO, is one of those things standing in the way of us having really nice things. You want to do something that involves a lot of cross-sectional area (a 4000 satellite LEO constellation, large depots, LEO colonies like what Al Globus has been promoting, power beaming satellites for powering aircraft or microwave thermal launch vehicles, or LEO commsats with enough power and antenna gain to provide satellite-based roaming for cellphones), and all of the sudden the nuisance starts becoming a real pain in the neck or even deal-killer from a collision probability standpoint.
The problem is that while there is no shortage of good ideas for cleaning up space debris1, what has been lacking is a way of monetizing debris cleanup. Without some way to make a profit, companies won’t generally invest resources, and you generally can’t get external investment either. Now, government created most of this mess with launches for military or ...

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