According to his latest post, MEP Niklass Nienass, through an upcoming exhibition on space debris, is trying to give the topic of space debris a public platform. Based on his statement “what happens up there far away from us is reminiscent of the Wild West. And it affects our everyday lives more than many people think”.
It should be noted that in the international Space Race, the big players compete for the best innovations, for the biggest projects. What happens to satellites or rocket parts afterwards hardly matters. There are now 130 million tiny parts in space. Between 2018 and 2030, the number of active satellites is expected to rise from 2,000 to 100,000 – after their mission they’ll become space junk.
However, the problem with this infinite space is that things can get tight very quickly. Since 1999, the ISS and its astronauts have had to correct course 32 times to avoid collisions, Mr. Nienass said. Retired satellites can cause critical infrastructure to fail through collisions with active satellites.
Further, it is true, that space debris can come to us: Ten years ago, a retired Soviet satellite crashed in Hudson Bay over Canada. Such unburned parts can, in the worst case, hit areas of high population density.
To this end, Mr. Nienass makes the following questions: Do we really want to be so wasteful with our raw materials? Rare earths that are supposed to be useless after the Space Project? We need better solutions. Approaches already exist on how to better locate decommissioned satellites. And space waste collection: from 2025, ESA wants to use satellites to collect waste in space. We need more of that.
Official answers can get through the European space law establishment. This should oblige all space players to consider the sustainability and disposal of satellites and rockets in their projects. This law should then set standards worldwide – so that the Wild West in space comes to an end.
Find the full statement on the website: https://niklas-nienass.eu/