China has a “Space Roomba”: the satellite that cleans up Earth’s orbit

While most of the world’s space agencies are still in the project stage of solving the space debris problem, China already seems to have a working solution. A Chinese sample was observed in the orbit of the planet while intercepting an ancient Chinese satellite and moved it to another orbit, where there is currently more debris from space launches.

China now has the ability to move objects from space into other orbits

The observation was made by ExoAnalytic Solutions, a private company that tracks the positions of objects launched into space. The Chinese satellite SJ-21 was tracked as it was diverted from its usual orbit to intercept the Compass-G2 satellite. It was an older, non-functional satellite, also launched by China for the BeiDou navigation system in 2009. It had been inoperative since its launch in 2009. The SJ-21 just attached itself to the satellite and pushed it into orbit. does not pose a danger to other releases.

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This action was observed on January 22, and the operation lasted 4 days. On January 26, the two objects were already separated. China launched SJ-21 in October last year in geostationary orbit. The object returned to its usual orbit, which is above the equator.

International space agencies are now trying to analyze China’s capability and determine whether the ability to move objects from space can be considered a threat. James Dickinson, head of US Space Command, said the SJ-21 could be used to move other non-Chinese satellites. However, Chinese officials say the country is “aligned with the pacifist goals of outer space.”

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In all, more than 50,000 objects have been launched into orbit since the 1960s. Only 30,000 are currently in orbit, and about 5,000 of them are still operational, according to ESA. However, the operations of destroying satellites in orbit, carried out by Russia, India and China, have also created much smaller objects that cannot be traced. We are talking about about 300 million small objects moving at a speed of 30,000 km / h in orbit.

source: DW

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