Chinese Scientists Have Successfully Used Drag-Sail Technology to Dispose of Space Trash

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To date, 8,950 satellites have been launched into orbit and 5,000 satellites remain in orbit despite having reached the end of their lifespan. Therefore, they no longer serve their purpose; hence, the increasing space junk in space.

(Photo: EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP via Getty Images)
NASA’s Artemis I Moon rocket sits at Launch Pad Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on June 15, 2022.

According to an estimate reported by Interesting engineeringabout 1,950 satellites are operational, while the rest have become debris.

The Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology has announced that Chinese scientists have successfully used a drag sail that will deorbit the recently launched Long March 2 rocket. This is the first time that an experiment like this has been carried out with a rocket.

The drag sail technology is a kite-shaped membrane that, when deployed, measures 25 square meters and one-tenth the diameter of the thickness of human hair, which does not prevent it from increasing atmospheric drag and accelerate the orbital decay of the final stage of the 300 kg rocket.

The technology is inexpensive and can be used on any low Earth orbit satellite that has become space junk. Drag-and-drop technology has become flexible and lightweight, which can be folded into a small package and placed on a spacecraft before launch.

Once near the debris, it will automatically deploy, which will help send the spacecraft back into the atmosphere to disintegrate.

Drag sails are a faster option than letting the trash de-orbit naturally, which usually takes years or decades.

This only comes at the right time, as China already has a lingering problem, having been accused of leaving much of its craft to pollute space. In March 2022, a piece of a Chinese space rocket was seen floating aimlessly in space after the October 2014 launch.

The good news, no one was injured in the collision. However, the debris could have caused significant damage if it made its way to the International Space Station (ISS).

Read also : Space junk can apparently ‘trap’ humans on Earth – How bad is the problem?

Solve space junk

When it comes to space exploration, space junk is a major concern that could hamper the success of a mission. A number of agencies, organizations, countries and scientific groups have tried to find a way to solve the space waste problem.

Avoiding space debris is the best way to ensure that there will be no damage to the spacecraft. The only way to avoid a collision with space junk is to watch out for space junk. Satellites are sent into orbit to monitor space debris. These satellites monitor space debris and send information indicating that the space debris does not pose a threat to the spacecraft. This will help avoid any space collisions.

NASA actively participates in the collection of space debris either by launching a satellite with a giant magnetic net that can be used to capture the debris. NASA is also developing a robot arm to help capture space debris.

Related article: Elon Musk SpaceX spacecraft could clean up space junk going to Mars, why should we care about space junk and how does it plan to do it?

This article belongs to TechTimes

Written by April Fowell

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