Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help    |   Cookie Policy    |   Privacy Policy    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Harpoon could drag satellites out of the sky


Posted on Friday, 16 March, 2018 | Comment icon 10 comments

Is de-orbiting defunct satellites a viable strategy ? Image Credit: US Air Force
Airbus has been developing a new type of harpoon in an effort to reduce the build-up of space junk in orbit.
Satellites and spacecraft are already running a daily gauntlet of spent rocket stages, screws, bolts and other objects that currently encircle our world. As time goes on, the problem will reach the point at which it will be too risky to send anything else up in to space due to the risk of a collision.

Now in a renewed bid to tackle the problem before it's too late, Airbus has come up with a new harpoon system designed to latch on to and drag defunct satellites out of orbit.

The harpoon, which will be mounted on a small interceptor spacecraft, has been developed with the goal of bringing down Europe's defunct 8-ton Envisat Earth observation platform.
"If we can design a harpoon that can cope with Envisat, then it should be able to cope with all other types of spacecraft including the many rocket upper-stages that remain in orbit," said Alastair Wayman, one of the engineers working on the project.

Ensuring that the harpoon is capable of successfully latching on to the 3cm-thick, composite honeycomb panels typically used in satellite construction is particularly important.

"The harpoon goes through these panels like a hot knife through butter," said Wayman. "Once the tip is inside, it has a set of barbs that open up and stop the harpoon from coming back out."

"We'd then de-tumble the satellite with a tether on the other end."


Source: BBC News | Comments (10)


Tags: Airbus, Harpoon, Space Junk


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Grandpa Greenman on 16 March, 2018, 13:47
That would be a fun job to have.  
Comment icon #2 Posted by RoofGardener on 16 March, 2018, 14:12
 WHITE WHALE....WHIIITEEE WHAAAALE... WHITE... oh.. wait.. no.. it's just a Mistubishi X1 communications relay satellite.  Ah well.  It should be noted that all Airbus have created is a pointy stick. They still need a "chase spaceship" (and a tether) before their Pointy Stick would actually DO anything. 
Comment icon #3 Posted by Grandpa Greenman on 16 March, 2018, 16:12
 
Comment icon #4 Posted by moonman on 16 March, 2018, 16:29
I thought they meant from the ground, that would be something. This, not so impressive.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Hankenhunter on 22 March, 2018, 0:35
So are they going to with the junk? Send it to earth? Collect everything into a giant orbiting scrap yard? Chuck it out into the void? Will they hire some guy named Ahab? These questions need answers. Hank
Comment icon #6 Posted by Merc14 on 22 March, 2018, 18:03
Interesting how they soft soap what teh Chinese did a few years ago by making it sound like they were trying to deorbit a satellite.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 22 March, 2018, 18:49
Funny, that's pretty much the excuse the USA used when they fired an anti-satellite missile at the failed USA-196 spy satellite in 2008. In 1985, when the USAF destroyed the Solwind satellite in orbit they didn't even bother inventing spurious excuses and just plain admitted it was a test of an anti-satellite weapon. China has done nothing that the USA and Soviet Union/Russia hadn't done already. That doesn't make it right but it does make the USA's complaints at the time a little hypocritical.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Merc14 on 22 March, 2018, 19:09
Neither the USA nor Rusia was mentioned in the video and I very much doubt they would ever soft soap if they were.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Grandpa Greenman on 23 March, 2018, 22:06
As we deorbit all this junk, (which needs to be done)  how are all burned particulates going to affect the upper atmosphere?  Is there enough of it to have an effect?  
Comment icon #10 Posted by khol on 24 March, 2018, 1:03
What I dont get is how we can be so irresponsible in the first place ??  Isnt it a no brainer orbiting debris would create huge safety issues to our space programs and communication satellites ? Creating space junk of this magnitude is completely insane to begin with. Humans have complete disregard for any kind of enviorment..terrestrial or otherwise. Is it impossible not to create junk or could we have developed better methods ?  just nuts  


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Farmers are painting eyes on cows' backsides
8-12-2020
Farmers in Africa have found a novel new way of protecting their livestock from opportunistic predators.
Dwarf planet Ceres turns out to be ocean world
8-12-2020
Scientists have determined that Ceres, like Europa and Enceladus, is home to an ocean of liquid water.
'Terror crocodile' had teeth the size of bananas
8-11-2020
A new study has revealed the immense power of one of the largest crocodilians ever to walk the Earth.
Diamond-encrusted COVID mask sells for $1.5M
8-11-2020
A jeweler in Israel has created and sold what is being described as the world's most expensive COVID mask.
Stories & Experiences
Black blob in my room/bed
7-23-2020 | Powell,TN U.S.
 
Transparent levitating ball
7-14-2020 | Santa Rosa, California
 
 
 
Grim reaper-like visitation
6-16-2020 | Canada
 
My monster catfish story
6-15-2020 | Dallas texas
 
Orb of light in room
5-9-2020 | USA/Texas/Waco
 
Not sleeping alone
5-9-2020 | Los Angeles
 
Glowing red eyes
5-9-2020 | Fields, Louisiana
 
Two creature sightings
5-1-2020 | Augusta and Louisana
 

         More stories | Send us your story
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
NASA studies underwater 'white smoker' vents
Posted 4-17-2020 | 3 comments
Hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor can teach us about possible habitats on other worlds.
 
10 strange things about our solar system
Posted 3-17-2020 | 0 comments
A look at some of the most mysterious things about our solar system.
 
Lizzie - Scotland's other loch monster
Posted 3-8-2020 | 0 comments
Amelia Dimoldenberg investigates the Loch Ness Monster's neighbor.
 
Adam Savage and Spot
Posted 2-14-2020 | 4 comments
Adam Savage tests out Boston Dynamics' impressive Spot robot.
 
NASA 2020: Are you ready ?
Posted 1-1-2020 | 3 comments
A look at what's coming up in the world of spaceflight this year.
 
 View: More videos
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.712 Unexplained-Mysteries.com (c) 2001-2020
Terms   |   Privacy Policy   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ