from the cloud-of-junk dept.
The most effective way to solve the space junk problem, according to a new study, is not to capture debris or deorbit old satellites: it's an international agreement to charge operators "orbital-use fees" for every satellite put into orbit.
Orbital use fees would also increase the long-run value of the space industry, said economist Matthew Burgess, a CIRES Fellow and co-author of the new paper. By reducing future satellite and debris collision risk, an annual fee rising to about $235,000 per satellite would quadruple the value of the satellite industry by 2040, he and his colleagues concluded in a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Space is a common resource, but companies aren't accounting for the cost their satellites impose on other operators when they decide whether or not to launch," said Burgess, who is also an assistant professor in Environmental Studies and an affiliated faculty member in Economics at the University of Colorado Boulder. "We need a policy that lets satellite operators directly factor in the costs their launches impose on other operators."
[...] A better approach to the space debris problem, Rao and his colleagues found, is to implement an orbital-use fee — a tax on orbiting satellites. "That's not the same as a launch fee," Rao said, "Launch fees by themselves can't induce operators to deorbit their satellites when necessary, and it's not the launch but the orbiting satellite that causes the damage."
[...] "In our model, what matters is that satellite operators are paying the cost of the collision risk imposed on other operators," said Daniel Kaffine, professor of economics and RASEI Fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder and co-author on the paper.
Akhil Rao, Matthew G. Burgess and Daniel Kaffine, Orbital-use fees could more than quadruple the value of the space industry", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
TOKYO -- Japanese logging company Sumitomo Forestry and Kyoto University are planting the seeds for a 2023 launch of the world's first satellite made out of wood.
The partners announced their intentions on Wednesday[, December 23], saying the aim was basic research and proof of concept.
EurAsian Times adds:
Outer space is filled with more than 23,000 known man-made fragments – from dead satellites to errant nuts and bolts – zipping around the planet, posing a threat to working satellites. Currently, there are around 2,500 active satellites orbiting the Earth.
The Japanese company's move assumes significance as it comes at a time when the nations are trying to build eco-friendly satellites to reduce space junk.
[...] The wood will burn up completely without releasing harmful substances into the atmosphere or raining debris on the ground when the wooden satellite will be plunging back to Earth after it de-orbits, the report claims. Debris anyway burns when it enters Earth's atmosphere.
The articles also point out that wood is transparent to electromagnetic radiation, allowing new designs with antenna locations inside the satellite.
Also at BBC.