[ExI] Name the Rogue Satellite Operation

hkhenson hkhenson at rogers.com
Thu Feb 21 16:23:06 UTC 2008

At 05:54 AM 2/21/2008, spike wrote:


>But the Chinese satellite was up at 800 km,
>and it was in a nearly polar orbit.  That means the resulting debris ring
>precesses over a period of time, due to the fact that the earth isn't
>perfectly spherical.  That means if you had a space elevator, eventually
>that ring would sweep across it, most likely destroying the cable.

That's the same problem for all space junk below the 
counterweight.  Every orbit cross the equatorial plane (or is in 
it).  If the elevator cable is there when it does, the cable get's hit.

>That being said, I thought there was probably already too much debris in LEO
>for a space elevator to be practical, but the Chinese put plenty of nails in
>the coffin of that idea.

It added on incrementally to the previously existing 10-15,000 pieces 
of space junk.  A substantial part of any space elevator project is 
cleaning up this junk.  It's not wasted though.  You need to push the 
collected junk out to GEO for the counterweight.  I have recently 
been talking to someone who understands the problem and he thinks my 
estimate of 200 ion engine space tugs working at it for 5 years may 
be over kill.

I will ask him about posting here.


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