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Disruptive technology is a very bizarre (and scary) concept, but it is not a bizarre or scary idea. The concept was introduced by Clayton Christensen. In one of his books, The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business, Christensen proves that, under certain circumstances, companies that do things right can lose their market share or even get out of business. He also presents a set of rules that can help companies capitalizing on disruptive innovation. While I am not trying to give a lecture on economics, I would like to understand how to apply (if possible) the principles of disruptive technologies to the space industry. A very good example is quite at hand… SpaceX.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has implemented the UN Space Debris Mitigation guidelines in a number of standards.
Canada is actively involved in space debris mitigation research and development activities. Canada hosted the International Conference on Protection of Materials and Structures from the Space Environment (ICPMSE) in May 2008, and contributed to the 37th Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Scientific Assembly in July 2008.
Let us see how the areas mentioned in the previous Sustainability in LEO post are covered at national level in the United States.
Space debris mitigation measures address issues in two major areas: protection from space debris and reduction of the space debris population growth.
Only a small fraction of the existing space debris population is detectable and tracked by ground systems. A smaller fraction is catalogued by special programs and/or departments of national space agencies. This is where statistics comes into play. Numerous models have been created in order to assess present collision risks associated with certain orbits and to predict future evolution of the debris environment around Earth.
In April 1984, the Space Shuttle Challenger placed into low Earth orbit a NASA spacecraft carrying a number of experiments for the purpose of characterizing the low Earth orbit environment. The spacecraft, the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), was a twelve-sided cylindrical structure and three-axis stabilized in order to ensure an accurate environmental exposure.
Space debris, also known as orbital debris, consist of artificial objects in orbit around Earth that no longer serve any useful purpose. Most of the space debris population consists of fragments resulted from explosions and collisions, but some are spent rocket stages and satellites that are no longer operational.
Sustainability in LEO: A Short History
Posted on January 14, 2011
The adventure started on October 4, 1957, when the former Soviet Union successfully launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik-1, using a rocket that was a modified Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICMB). Even if the political implications at that time were very important, as the launch ignited the Space Race within the Cold War, we can argue that the scientific accomplishments were more significant.
How Easy is it to Measure the Universe?
Posted on December 20, 2010
One thing that I find fascinating about astronomy is the ingenious ways astronomers have come up with to solve the puzzles laid out in the skies. You cannot travel to distant stars and galaxies to study them… so what do you do? Well, you use all of the knowledge that mathematics and physics give you and find out anything you want to know (or pretty much everything) about them.

Latest blog posts

LISA Pathfinder
Posted on November 25, 2015
LISA Pathfinder will place two test masses in a nearly perfect gravitational free-fall, and will control and measure their relative motion with unprecedented accuracy. The test masses and their environment will be the quietest place in the Solar System.
Posted on November 18, 2015
Sentinel-2 will serve a wide range of applications related to Earth's land surface and coastal zones. The mission will mainly provide information for agricultural and forestry practices and for helping manage food security. Satellite images will be used to determine various plant indices such as leaf area chlorophyll and water content indexes. This is particularly important for effective yield prediction and applications related to Earth’s vegetation. As well as monitoring plant growth, Sentinel-2 can be used to map changes in land cover and to monitor the world's forests. It will also provide information on pollution in lakes and coastal waters. Images of floods, volcanic eruptions and landslides contribute to disaster mapping and help humanitarian relief efforts.
Aurora Borealis
Posted on November 7, 2015
Still images taken by ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on the International Space Station were joined together to create this timelapse. The astronauts on the Space Station spend as much time as possible on science. During her 40-hour working week Samantha runs many experiments from Italy’s ASI space agency and ESA, and takes part in even more from scientists all over the world.
2015 TB145
Posted on November 3, 2015
JPL scientist Marina Brozovic explains how radar will be used to study asteroid 2015 TB145 when it safely passes Earth on Oct. 31, 2015. Scientists are tracking the Halloween flyby with several optical observatories and the radar capabilities of the agency's Deep Space Network at Goldstone, California. Radar images should be available within a few days of the flyby. The asteroid will fly past Earth at a safe distance slightly farther than the moon's orbit on Oct. 31 at 10:01 a.m. PDT (1:01 p.m. EDT). Scientists are treating the flyby of the estimated 1,300-foot-wide (400-meter) asteroid as a science target of opportunity.
Ariane 5 VA226 Liftoff
Posted on October 24, 2015
On 30 September 2015, Ariane 5 flight VA226 lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites, Sky Muster and Arsat-2, into their planned orbits.
Asteroid Impact Mission
Posted on October 20, 2015
The Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) is a candidate mission currently undergoing preliminary design work. Launched in October 2020, AIM would travel to a binary asteroid system – the paired Didymos asteroids, which will come a comparatively close 11 million km to Earth in 2022. The 800 m-diameter main body is orbited by a 170 m moon, informally called ‘Didymoon’. This smaller body is AIM’s focus: the spacecraft would perform high-resolution visual, thermal and radar mapping of the moon to build detailed maps of its surface and interior structure. The main AIM spacecraft is planned to carry at least three smaller spacecraft – the Mascot-2 asteroid lander, being provided by DLR (Mascot-1 is already flying on JAXA’s Hayabusa-2), as well as two or more CubeSats. AIM would test optical communications and inter-satellite links in deep space, essential technology for future exploration.
Jupiter HD
Posted on October 13, 2015
New imagery from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is revealing details never before seen on Jupiter. High-resolution maps and spinning globes (rendered in the 4k Ultra HD format) are the first products to come from a program to study the solar system’s outer planets each year using Hubble. The observations are designed to capture a broad range of features, including winds, clouds, storms and atmospheric chemistry. These annual studies will help current and future scientists see how such giant worlds change over time.
Soyuz Progress M-29M Launch and Docking
Posted on October 4, 2015
Six hours after its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the unpiloted ISS Progress 61 cargo craft automatically docked to the International Space Station. After a series of pre-programmed rendezvous burns of its engines, the resupply vehicle linked up to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module to deliver more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the six Expedition 45 crew members on the orbital laboratory. The new Progress will remain attached to Zvezda until early December.
Buoyant Rover
Posted on September 25, 2015
Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are developing the Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration, a technology that could one day explore oceans under the ice layers of planetary bodies. The prototype was tested in arctic lakes near Barrow, Alaska.
SOHO and Comets
Posted on September 23, 2015
In this video, Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab talks us through a visualization of the comets that SOHO has witnessed. Since its launch nearly 20 years ago, NASA and the European Space Agency's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory has spotted 3000 comets. The mission's The Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) instrument blocks out the bright solar disk, making it easier to see the corona of plasma and dust around the Sun, normally only visible during solar eclipses. This instrument also provides a very large field of view of the region around the Sun.
Crew Dragon
Posted on September 20, 2015
Step inside Crew Dragon, SpaceX’s next-generation spacecraft designed to carry humans to the International Space Station and other destinations.
Soyuz TMA-16M Undocking
Posted on September 13, 2015
On Sept. 12, the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft carrying Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Flight Engineers Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency (Kazcosmos) undocked from the International Space Station to begin the return journey home for the trio.
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