those Who have enough money, anything can shoot into space. Pre makes it has Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who has catapulted with a rocket of a red electric sports car in the world space. New Zealand placed a huge disco ball in orbit, and a Japanese company will soon be offering shooting stars to order.

The Problem: in the Meantime, dump grid around the earth. Space missions have left 20,000 of Scrap parts in the immediate vicinity of earth, the circles with up to 30,000 kilometers per hour around our planet. The space junk is a hazard for space travelers and satellites. In the worst case, a fatal chain reaction that would make flights into space, completely impossible threatened by a collision of scrap parts. Scientists therefore, are working already for some time on technical solutions.


“millions out of the window

thrown” The latest idea: A roadside service for satellites. Currently, about 3000 inactive satellites orbit around the earth. If you run out of fuel and leave their orbit, you have. “There’s literally hundreds of millions of dollars are thrown out the window,” said Al Tadros, Vice chief of space infrastructure and civilian space travel, the Satellite manufacturer, SSL.

SSL is about to send in 2021, a space vehicle into space, repair satellites in case of emergency – about 36,000 kilometers away from earth. The unmanned space ship can dock at a satellite to inspect him, to refuel and repair may be able to switch components and then to bring back in the right orbit. Comparable to this is the car “with a ADAC service,” says Tadros. Financially, he sees “a huge opportunity”.

All-cemetery satellite

similar in concept to the telecommunications followed giant Intelsat, which operates 50 satellites. A tow truck company Space Logistics, the car is scheduled to dock at unusual satellite in the correct orbit, controllers. A magnetic system for the detection of space junk and broken satellites, developed the 2013-founded Japanese company Astro scale. A test run is planned for 2020. And the aviation group Airbus wants to drag from 2023 to with his program “Space Tug” of the old satellite at 200 km distance from the earth, in order to burn up there.

The business might be worth. France, for example, requires since 2008 by satellite operators measures to “Deorbitierung” their space vehicles, a Software that lets you after 25 years in the earth’s atmosphere, penetrate and burn up. Discarded satellites in geostationary Orbit have to Dodge in a “graveyard orbit” 300 kilometres further away from the earth.

the Problem of space junk, The cosmic garbage dump

For smaller debris would be the roadside service for satellites, however, is not a solution. They make up the majority of space debris. Alone the shooting down of a Chinese satellite in 2007 and the collision of two satellites in 2009 caused thousands of Debris particles. Add to this the hundreds of rocket pieces.

The Problem of space junk is becoming more pressing: The number of satellites in space has increased, according to industry Association the Satellite Industry Association in five years by 50 percent – and the trend is rising. U.S. experts will discuss a better international regulation of space traffic. Fred Kennedy of the U.S. military research Agency Darpa says: “We don’t want the Wild West.”


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.