May 19, 2022

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Technology from Stuttgart: to avoid collisions in space – Weihingen

The computer-generated image from the European Space Agency (ESA) shows space debris from previous Earth-orbiting space missions along with intact satellites. Photo: dpa/ESA


In 2021, the mass of orbiting objects was estimated at about 10,000 tons. The risk of collisions increases. Laser technology from Stuttgart can bring more safety.

64 years ago, NASA launched the Vanguard 1 satellite the size of a grapefruit. The first to be equipped with solar cells. It still makes its way there today. Combustion is expected to occur upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere in the year 2198. Once something lands in orbit, it stays there for a long time. Wolfgang Reede, head of the department of the Institute of Technical Physics of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) based in Stuttgart-Weehingen, talks about an object in orbit at an altitude of 800 km for about 100 years. At 900 kilometers it would be 1,000 years. Reed describes polluting conditions outside the Earth’s atmosphere as car-filled streets, where faulty cars also park around and no one clears them.

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