Broadcast 1655 (Special Edition)

18 Nov 2011 Franz Gayl, Dr. Lucy Rogers
Your Amazon Purchases Helps Support TSS/OGLF (see

Feedback: What did you think of this show?: 

Guests: Dr. Lucy Rogers, Franz Gayl. Topic: Removing Orbital Debris. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed back Franz Gayl and first time guest Dr. Lucy Rogers to discuss their recent Singularity University Space Team Project Final Technical Report: "Removing Orbital Debris: A Global Space Challenge." For more information about their project and the debris issue, visit their website which is Our guests also referenced the recent National Research Council (NRC) report on the subject, "Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft: An Assessment of NASA's Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programs." Download the .pdf for free at During our first segment, our guests introduced us to their Singularity University project and the problem of space debris. They provided us with statistics for debris pollution in the most popular orbits, including polar orbits. We talked about high orbits, MEO & GEO orbits & new satellite mitigation techniques to either bring a satellite down much faster or to move it to a higher parking orbit out of the way freeing up the actual orbit for use by another satellite. We talked about those most responsible for space debris which are the U.S., Russia (former Soviet Union) & China. Responsibility for cleanup lies with these countries by treaty but as you will hear, its not always easy to know which piece of debris is the responsibility of which nation state. Later in the segment, a listener asked about the Kessler Syndrome which our guests addressed, then we talked about reentering satellites, especially from LEO. The issue of national security for satellite location/identification came up & as you will hear, this is a major issue yet to be resolved in international debris negotiations. In response to questions about why we don't have debris removal efforts with budgetary priorities, Franz talked about human nature & why it is so difficult to take action before an event actually happens. In our second segment, Dr. Rogers talked about the need to establish a trade association with all the stakeholders to work out solutions to the debris threat as it is possible that within five or so years, debris collisions could wipe out important security as well as commercial satellites. Beth asked about space tourism being at risk. Our guests said it was, specifically orbital space tourism. Another listener asked about planetary protection & the working together with groups addressing planetary protection along with debris issues. Toward the end of our discussion, an Economist online article was mentioned. You can find this article on their website in the media section Scroll down until you see the Economist Online article listed from Sept. 1, 2011 The article talks about the third graduating class from the Singularity University & all their projects, including AstroTrash which was the project submitted by our guests. Other discussion topics suggested by listeners included the likelihood of a commercial company being formed to clean up space junk as well as a host of questions about international legality in space debris cleanup. Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above. Dr. Rogers and team members can be reached at



WARNING: Using Disqus Comments on the Space Show:

To ensure your comments do NOT get caught in the Disqus automatic spam filter systemplease login to your Disqus account or create a verified/approved Disqus account.

Posting multiple URL links WILL TRIGGER the Disqus automatic spam filter system.