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The John Batchelor Show “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 3-28-12 March 29, 2012

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The John Batchelor Show “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 3-28-12

Joh Batchelor, Dr. Darren McKnight, DrSpace on space debris & the ISS


Guests:  John Batchelor, Dr. Darren McKnight, Dr. David Livingston.  Topics:  The ISS and space debris avoidance, space debris mitigation. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  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. This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com. The topics in this 20 minute plus segment focused on recent news reports regarding the risk to the ISS by incoming space junk.  The six crew members got into their Soyuz lifeboats, sealed the hatch and in the worst case scenario of a hit and damage to the ISS, they were ready for an emergency return to Earth.  You can read about this incident from many sources on the web or you can check out the story here:  www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/mar/13/space-junk-nasa.  Mr. Batchelor started out by asking Dr. McKnight if NASA had Plan B ready given the high number of debris objects in space.  Dr. McKnight talked about the debris that is cataloged and not cataloged, and the risk factor the ISS astronauts accept by going to the space station.  Darren then spent a few minutes talking with us on how solar cycles impact the quantity of space debris in the lower orbits. We also talked about liability issues should debris do damage.  In the latter part of our discussion, John asked Darren about remedies. We talked about them for both the LEO orbits and the higher GEO orbits.  Tumbling Russian rocket bodies were mentioned and I asked how the tumbling is stopped so the rocket body can be mitigated as a piece of debris.  Our discussion ended when John asked Darren if there were space debris cops to enforce debris mitigation efforts on launching companies and countries.  Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above. If you want to email either John Batchelor or Dr. McKnight, please send your note to me and I will forward it.


1. Jonathan Caswell - April 13, 2012

I liked this on air (WTTK, 96.9 FM)—MAKES A LOT OF SENSE. Let the private sector do it! By the way, heard it on THE JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW.

2. Joe - March 29, 2012

The day someone makes a financial commitment to a launch service to send up robotic debris removers is a day too late for the nearby surviving satellites because the only reason someone is going to pay to do this will be due to a catastrophic collision event naturally caused or caused by intentional means. The possibility exists that if you can’t win the space access domination race, you will likely settle for the next best thing; space access denial. This has happened already and we all know that history repeats itself. This is the most likely scenario since natural causes are few and far between and selective collisions are targeted to get the most band for the buck. Naturally caused collisions do not have this selective capability.

Until then, the money shall be best spent helping people get along on the ground. The best solution, I believe, is to perform preventative measures on future payloads and then establish cooperative agreeements with international space access partnerships to get other governments away from focusing on space access denial.

In other words, cooperate by putting foreigners into low earth orbit to existing space destinations, of which there is only one with serious access limitations for foreigners.

The solution to this problem is putting up commercial space habitats like Bigelow’s offer but do it in a way that leads to profitability for the company offering this unique service.

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