“Trash” In Space Could Destroy Critical Satellites – Here’s How We Protect Them
In the early days of the space era, most countries felt safe launching rockets and operating satellites under the "big sky" concept. According to the theory, space was so vast that one more satellite had little or no chance of colliding with another. In the 1970s, NASA scientist Donald Kessler, envisioned a scenario – aptly named Kessler Syndrome – where cascading orbital collisions would create increasing debris fields, eventually destroying our assets in space.
As the years have advanced, so has the quantity of space debris, though our ability to reliably track and record it has not. Traveling at speeds upwards of 15,000 mph, that debris threatens not only commercial satellites, which we depend on for everything from weather forecasting, banking global communications and GPS navigation, but also military assets that help monitor and protect nations around the world.
Enter Space Fence and iSpace. These Lockheed Martin-developed systems provide the ability to detect far more debris than previous technologies could, and with greater accuracy. Here are eight things you should know about how we track debris in space.