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Foiled again! Brit military minds splash cash on killing satellites with... food wrapping?

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"The upcoming Space Industry Bill, due for discussion by the House of Lords next week, forms part of that strategy to tighten Blighty's governmental grip on the cosmos"

Obligatory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wntX-a3jSY...

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The British government is keen to develop its space capabilities,

By investing £10million per year in projects? That's about half a day of NASA's budget.

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Obligatory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wntX-a3jSY ...

Miss Piggy deals with Space Garbage

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Coat

Oi! That's my tinfoil hat you're takin'!!

Sorry, tinfoil and GCHQ in one piece meant I just couldn't resist

I'll get me coat

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Alien

Re: Oi! That's my tinfoil hat you're takin'!!

Coat, not a Mylar blanket?

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Coat

Re: Oi! That's my tinfoil hat you're takin'!!

It pleases me to no end that the UK space bods will be employing tin foil and hopefully sticky backed plastic :)

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During second reading of the Bill on 12 July 2017, a wide-ranging discussion took place on issues including the UK's membership of the European Space Agency, private ownership of civilian space flight operations and use of Scottish locations for UK spaceports.

The use of Scotland for spaceports exemplifies typical UK government thinking, i.e. let's not launch near the Equator using the perfect base that we own (Ascension Island) - let's just use Scotland instead

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The benefit of launching from the equator diminishes as the orbital inclination of the satellite increases. A satellite intended to map the earth would want to fly over the poles so advantage launching from the equator would be lost..

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Aye. And ye can alsee gi' won bro'ar Scots chil tae hoy the wee 'uns int'ay space like a caber.

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Happy

There's a big. long and flat runway on the end of the Kintyre Peninsula. It was the designated overfly landing site for the Shuttle. It is the preferred launch site for the space plane if it ever gets off the ground.

It is remote and flat enough that Musk could land one of his rockets on it.

So we already have the infrastructure. Also Glasgow has a thriving satellite design and build industry so we are players in the Space Industry. iScotland and present Scotland can do space too, it is not a conspiracy.

Yours a hard campaigner with RIC and staunch advocate for Independence.

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What about...

the additional impetus that the Earth's rotation gives, which is maximum at the equator, and helps save on fuel?

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Re: What about...

Aye, but how much fuel will it cost to get the fuel to Ascension island?

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"

using the perfect base that we own (Ascension Island)

"

The problem with Ascension (or St. Helena for that matter) is the time & cost of transporting all the equipment and other resources. Anything heavy and/or bulky could only be delivered by ship with a travel time measured in weeks.

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It is remote and flat enough that Musk could land one of his rockets on it.

Not about landing.

UK has no interest in rocketry, once again we're leading the world in aviation technology only this time we won't have to give it away to buy the US into a world war.

The equator argument involves invalid suppositions about what's happening here. We don't need to save fuel because we're not leaving the atmosphere the silly way. By the way you know you can fly to the equator and then burn fuel into space right?

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DJO

The problem with Ascension (or St. Helena for that matter) is the time & cost of transporting all the equipment and other resources.

I've said it before, we should go full super-villain and hollow out the Rock of Gibraltar and launch from there. It's near the equator and has good transport links and being near the sea it's easy to keep the shark tanks full. Another advantage is it would really piss the Spanish off.

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The problem with Ascension (or St. Helena for that matter) is the time & cost of transporting all the equipment and other resources. Anything heavy and/or bulky could only be delivered by ship with a travel time measured in weeks.

Unlike French Guiana.

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Re: What about...

It's not the cost, it's the weight. Every m/s you gain at launch is so many kilos extra of payload you can loft to orbit for a given weight of fuel.

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Re: What about...

"the additional impetus that the Earth's rotation gives, which is maximum at the equator, and helps save on fuel?"

He did try to explain above. If you want to orbit from pole to pole, it is of no use at all.

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Ascension

Blighty would have to start by repairing the runway at Ascension

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p057d1vb

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This post has been deleted by its author

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"The use of Scotland for spaceports exemplifies typical UK government thinking, i.e. let's not launch near the Equator using the perfect base that we own (Ascension Island) - let's just use Scotland instead"

Not to mention the possibility of a Scotxit. Don't forget the fuss over the entire nuclear submarine deterrent being based in Scotland.

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Anonymous Coward

>Also Glasgow has a thriving satellite design and build industry

And as a fringe benefit, if something does come down in the wrong place, verra' little of value will be lost. Apart fra peepul y'ken.

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"

Unlike French Guiana.

"

Yes, completely unlike. Take a look at a map.

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Anonymous Coward

Why don't they just send up a huge magnet?

Problem solved.

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Aluminium, titanium, copper, zinc, tin, brass, gold, silver, lead... there's a lot of stuff up there.

Obligatory video clip.

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>Aluminium, titanium, copper, zinc, tin, brass, gold, silver, lead... there's a lot of stuff up there.

Shame to have it burn up in the atmosphere, perhaps someone should suggest using black bin bags and setting up a fortnightly bin collection...

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Holmes

Space Sponge

My idea is for a giant space sponge. It would need perhaps a km sphere of aerogel to capture both large pieces of junk in similar orbits, and small pieces at large crossing velocities. It would then use a small thruster to gently de-orbit, and create a nice firework display.

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Re: Space Sponge

Lovely idea, but most aerogels are quite brittle, and therefore impacts would probably create large volumes of micrometeorites.

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Anonymous Coward

Ok, so magnets are not possible for obvious reasons.

Why don't we use sound waves to move it?

We could ask the Cubans for their weapon designs.

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In space, no-one can hear you scream.

Close, but no cigar.

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Anonymous Coward

So, No Magnets, No sound waves.

What about a firing up a huge ball of shower Jizz? That stuff is sticky and everything would stick to it re-entering the atmosphere with spectacular effects.

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Joke

Space bin collections

The bin men (and I've yet to see a female operative) will leave the wheelie bins right in the path of the next SpaceX flight and refuse to accept any blame for rubbish blowing the solar wind.

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"Shame to have it burn up in the atmosphere, perhaps someone should suggest using black bin bags and setting up a fortnightly bin collection..."

You'd also have to send someone up to sort all the different metals into different bags before they agree to collect it.

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Why don't they just send up a huge magnet?

The earth already /is/ a huge magnet.

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Re: Wrong concept

I looked up the Daedalus experiment. It's not for capturing satellites, it's meant to be added to future satellites so they can de-orbit themselves cheaply.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why don't they just send up a huge magnet?

"The earth already /is/ a huge magnet."

So that explains why when I drop something made out of metal it drops to the floor.

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Re: Why don't they just send up a huge magnet?

That's because the planet sucks.

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Obligatory

"The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) is spending a total of £50m [...] the Daedalus experiment, [...] aims to clear up space junk [...] Currently [...] destroyed by firing rockets at it."

Obligatory video clip.

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Currently...

"Currently, space junk is destroyed by firing rockets at it."

Are El Reg's journos now deliberately trying to troll its readers? It's difficult to believe that's an honest mistake.

Anyway, hitting a piece of 'space junk' with a rocket, whether it relies just upon kinetic energy or has an explosive warhead, will not destroy the item of space junk; it will just turn that single item of space junk in to many items of smaller and more difficult to track space junk, spread out over a greater volume of space.

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Re: Currently...

Firing rockets ON it. A deorbit burn. Perhaps they meant.

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Re: Currently...

I think El Reg is referring to the Chinese test of an anti-satellite missile against one of their defunct satellites, which almost doubled the amount of space junk up there. The US was also planning on downing one of their malfunctioning spy-sats, but I can't remember if they went through with that.

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Re: Currently... [Chinese test]

The Chinese test of which you refer took place in early 2007, so hardly current. And as you point out, it more or less doubled the amount of junk in orbit. The Chinese weren't the first to do this though; the U.S. carried out a similar test in 1985, although the satellite in the U.S. test was at a lower orbit and the last 'catalogued' bit of debris had de-orbited by 2008. However, I don't think anyone really knows how many uncatalogued (smaller) pieces of debris remain from the U.S. test - these would have been scattered further than the larger catalogued pieces.

And yes, the U.S. did shoot down one of its NRO satellites in 2008, but this was at an altitude of just ~150 miles, so most of that junk will have de-orbited by now.

Of course, no discussion of space junk would be complete without mention of project West Ford.

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Kessler syndrome

The Chinese blew apart a satellite back in 2007, but creating a greater number of objects runs the risk of the runaway Kessler syndrome

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Re: Currently...

Currently, space junk is destroyed by firing rockets at it

Currently, more space junk is deployed by firing rockets at it

TFTFY

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Daedalus Experiment?

Surely it should be the Icarus Experiment, he being the pioneering aviator who was tragically destroyed in a molten fireball*? Not his father who operated within the aircraft's release to service and landed safely.

*Okay molten wax, I was trying for literary flare.

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Re: Daedalus Experiment?

I see what you did there, nice!

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What is needed is a massive sieve!

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Well, now I'm disappointed!

I read right past the "Foiled again!" pun, and envisioned a rocket body formed out of a gargantuan roll of Saran Wrap.

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Re: Well, now I'm disappointed!

I read right past the "Foiled again!" pun, and envisioned a rocket body formed out of a gargantuan roll of Saran Wrap.

Would you settle for A rocket car made out of cardboard and linoleum? ☺

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Pint

If there's a changing magnetic field...

...then a loop of wire and a load resistor would convert kinetic energy into heat, dropping the orbit. Would work even in a hard vacuum.

The boffins can take it from here...

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