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Space Science

US Lab Developing Technology For Space Traffic Control 47

Posted by samzenpus
from the near-miss dept.
coondoggie writes "Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say they have tested technology that could eventually help them monitor and control space traffic. The driving idea behind the project is to help keep satellites and other spacecraft from colliding with each other or with debris in Low Earth Orbit."
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US Lab Developing Technology For Space Traffic Control

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    NRL [navy.mil] has had this technology since 1957.

  • Seriously, what is it?

    I thought calling something a satellite meant it was orbiting.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Seriously, what is it?

      They mean a satellite being tested on the ground before launching it.

      I thought calling something a satellite meant it was orbiting.

      If that were the case, then expressions like "building a satellite" would be wrong.

      • You may build something with the intention of making it become a satellite by placing it in orbit. but until it is in orbit, it is not a satellite.

  • TFA says:

    a series of six images over a 60-hour period taken from a ground-based satellite

    I wonder what a "ground-based satellite" satellite is. Do they meant a telescope?

    • by rossdee (243626)

      The only thing I could think of that would fit that title would be something we haven't built yet:
      A Beanstalk
      A Skyhook
      A Clarke Tower
      An Orbital Tower
      A space elevator

      I think the last term would be the one most /. readers would be familiar with, they are all names for the same obital construct

      • by AJWM (19027)

        they are all names for the same orbital construct

        Not quite. Yes, they're all names for the basic idea, but there are several applications of a beanstalk that don't require an elevator. The term "space elevator" applies to a subset of the various suggested technologies. Also, a skyhook doesn't have to be anchored at the base, there have been several suggestions for rotating tethers which dip down into the atmosphere and grab payloads at their nadir.

        A couple of decades back I published a paper or two on

      • by Immerman (2627577)

        Actually a skyhook is usually understood as something different from the others - a vertical or tumbling tether arrangement, not something connected to the ground nor necessarily geosynchronous.

    • TFA says:

      a series of six images over a 60-hour period taken from a ground-based satellite

      I wonder what a "ground-based satellite" satellite is. Do they meant a telescope?

      It’s a geostationary object at an altitude of 0 km.

      You know, like a brick.

  • Misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Raven (30575) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @10:12PM (#46053029) Homepage
    They are developing software to get better orbital trajectories. We already HAVE software that manages traffic and orbital collision warnings, but the problem is that our orbital trajectory data is too inaccurate for it to be as helpful as it should be.
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      They are developing software to get better orbital trajectories. We already HAVE software that manages traffic and orbital collision warnings, but the problem is that our orbital trajectory data is too inaccurate for it to be as helpful as it should be.

      technology that could eventually help them monitor and control space traffic.

      Yeah... right... control space traffic... my as.. (no, scratch that: Uranus)... they can barely do it for airspace, almost nothing for LEO and they dream of "space"?
      (sensationalism at its best in reporting)

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Well, controlling space vs air traffic are fairly different problems. Obviously both involve conflict resolution, but space traffic has some factors that make it both easier and harder.

        Space traffic tends to maintain an unchanged ballistic trajectory for a very long period of time (days, weeks, months, years). Air traffic tends not to stay in the air for more than a few hours at a time. Air traffic is easy to maneuver - changing course costs very little compared to maintaining course, but space traffic c

  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @10:27PM (#46053121)
    An entity that controls space traffic will be tasked with keeping satellites and other spacecraft from colliding with each other or other debris in LEO.

    Kind of like airports do with air traffic controllers...

    Man, I wonder how aggressive the Space TSA will be?

    • Man, I wonder how aggressive the Space TSA will be?

      What? This is unacceptable! How can you not know this? You've got it backwards: The TSA came after the alien abduction leaks.

      I'm filing a formal complaint with your Cultural Indoctrination & Acclimation overseers.

  • I can't bloody believe this wasn't the headline. Sheesh! You guys are slipping.

  • There are about 5600 active satellites orbiting out there, and far more debris.

    And satellites do collide ... One example: http://www.universetoday.com/2... [universetoday.com]

    There always has been the issue of how much orbiting space junk will finally start causing serious problems for space flight and the flight paths of other satellites, I think this issue has been a concern for so long that Carl Sagan was worrying about it (and it'll be 20 years since his death this year).
  • With all the New tech concerning self guided this and that, is this really even a market? This really seems like spacex and google had a kid, and you wanted to pick a fight with him. Or her. But probably him.
  • This is like putting up traffic lights before you have more than two cars.

    This is all about satellites and debris -- so what about the equivalent of "street sweepers" for the sky? I could imagine that it's easier to target all the working satellites and occasionally just blast the equivalent of a shotgun around them of pellets made from water ice. Destabilize the orbit of all the debris and it will clean up quicker.

    Other than a few satellites that might collide -- most of the debris or low sophistication sa

  • Just limit space travel to Google Self-Driving Spaceships.
    WCPGW, YMMV, etc.

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