he latest plans of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have failed . And nothing makes us think that in the future they will be successful. This time, instead of firing or towing abandoned satellites , from Japan they are preparing a new type of self-destructing satellite, to at least prevent this problem from escalating in the future .
The Japanese space agency has announced plans to test a self-destructing style of micro-satellites in 2021, with the ambition to market them if they succeed.
Destroy satellites so they don’t stay in orbit
For this J-SPARC project, JAXA has collaborated with the Japanese startup ALE Co. The satellites will be equipped with a carbon nanotube cathode and an electrodynamic strap . Once the satellite has completed its mission, the strap unwinds causing a current flow. This movement together with the effects of our planet’s magnetic field, gravity and the small friction that exists will push the satellite back into the atmosphere, ultimately causing an explosion, according to the agency.
“Through the development of this satellite it will be possible to reduce the number of satellites remaining in a low Earth orbit, which is expected to increase rapidly in the future , and thus avoid the generation of large amounts of hazardous debris caused by collisions with other space debris. “they defend.
The reduction in the cost of these low-orbit satellites is assuming that more and more missions are launched into space and in many cases their purpose in time is short. Which generates more satellites and space debris. JAXA and ALE hope that their new satellites will help solve this problem.
They are not the only ones working on this solution. In 2019 , the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that it was developing a new design for satellites that, after their useful life, will completely disintegrate upon contact with Earth’s atmosphere. “Designed to Disappear” was one of the lines of the CleanSat project . Although, while the European project seems in its early stages, from Japan they have already established a date to test them.