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You want to launch a satellite? Sorry the sky is full!

Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 16 Sep 2010

pocketgpsworld.comWe have all come to depend on communications in all its forms. When we use a telephone call, browse the internet, travel by air and of course, use a satnav, much of it is requires or uses satellite communications technology.

Now I knew there were a huge number of satellites in orbit but nevertheless I was taken aback when I saw this YouTUBE video, made from the data published by Analytic Graphic Inc.

The enormous number of satellites in orbit, many of which have long since ceased duty, leads you to wonder how we manage to safely launch any space vehicles at all.

The video is well worth a watch, I defy you not to be amazed!

Posted by OrangeJuiceMan on Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:12 pm Reply with quote

There is one factor that is grossly over-emphasized in the video ... the ratio (of the volumes) of occupied to non-occupied space. Put simply, the size of the satellites (as illustrated) is in no-way comparable the size of the earth ! If the illustration was shown "to scale", then the satellites would be barely visible micro dots. There are more grains of table salt in a teaspoonful than there are satellites currently in orbit. If the 'earth' was the same respresentative size (a grain of salt = a satellite), you would probably be looking at something the size of a very large beach ball with a teaspoonful of salt spread throughout a shared space the equivalent volume of all the worlds sports stadiums combined. Scale is everything!

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Posted by Darren on Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:32 pm Reply with quote

Well yes, that is of course true, but it does illustrate the scale of the issue and the congested orbits.

The fear of a simple collision causing a chain reaction is real enough though. Last year a derelict Russian military satellite and an Iridium satellite collided and the resulting debris cloud has caused damage to other vehicles and forced the space station to change orbits.

Darren Griffin - Editor

Posted by fanying on Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:23 am Reply with quote

Yes,I agree with Darren that The fear of a simple collision causing a chain reaction is real enough though.
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