NASA will tackle orbital debris, the greatest challenge of our time
WASHINGTON: The US space agency has announced funding three studies to understand the growing problem of space debris in order to analyze the economic, social and political issues associated with the sustainability of space.
Bhavya Lal, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Office of Technology, Policy and Strategy (OTPS), said orbital debris is one of the great challenges of our time.
“Maintaining our ability to use space is critical to our economy, our national security, and our nation’s science and technology enterprise,” Lal said in a statement.
“These awards will fund research to help us understand the dynamics of the orbital environment and show how we can develop policies to limit the creation of debris and mitigate the impact of existing debris,” she added.
Orbital debris consists of man-made objects orbiting the Earth that no longer serve a purpose, including mission-related and fragmentation debris, non-functioning spacecraft, and derelict rocket stages .
NASA takes the threat of orbital debris seriously because these objects can endanger spacecraft, compromise access to space, and impede the development of an economy in low Earth orbit, including commercial participation.
These new grants will fund research that supports the agency’s commitment to solving the problem.
Last month, Digantara, a Bengaluru-based startup, said it was on a mission to compile space debris data.
The startup is ready to send 40 satellites that will study space debris data in low Earth orbit (LEO). The satellites are expected to be launched early next year.