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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.
Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Survey
Posted on November 20, 2010
The Aerial Regional-scale Environment Survey, ARES for short, is an autonomous powered airplane. ARES will bridge the gap between remote sensing and surface exploration on Mars. This new class of science will allow magnetic surveys with an improved resolution, geologic diversity coverage, and in-situ atmospheric science.

Latest blog posts

Progress M-28M Arrives at ISS
Posted on July 5, 2015
NASA dixit:The unpiloted Russian ISS Progress 60 cargo craft arrived at the International Space Station July 5, carrying more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 44 crewmembers on the orbital outpost. The Progress automatically docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment on the Russian segment of the station, two days after its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in K...
NASA dixit:Carrying more than 6,100 pounds of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted ISS Progress 60 cargo craft launched at 12:55 a.m. EDT (10:55 p.m. local time in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. At the time of launch, the International Space Station was flying about 249 miles over northwestern Sudan, near the border with E...
SpaceX CRS-7 Liftoff
Posted on July 1, 2015
NASA dixit:The SpaceX CRS-7 Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying a Dragon spacecraft on the seventh commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 10:21 a.m. EST. After liftoff, an anomaly occurred.SpaceX:Following a nominal liftoff, Falcon 9 experienced a problem shor...
SpaceX dixit:[...] These landing attempts move us toward our goal of producing a fully and rapidly reusable rocket system, which will dramatically reduce the cost of space transport.A jumbo jet costs about the same as one of our Falcon 9 rockets, but airlines don't junk a plane after a one-way trip from LA to New York. Yet when it comes to space travel, rockets fly only once—even though ...
2015: The Year Of Pluto
Posted on June 21, 2015
NASA dixit:The New Horizons mission will help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the dwarf planet Pluto and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt – a relic of solar system formation. Following a January 2006 launch, New Horizons is currently about 2.95 billion miles from home; the spacecraft is healthy and all ...
ISS Expedition 43 Returns
Posted on June 13, 2015
NASA dixit:At 6:20 a.m. June 11, NASA’s Terry Virts and Flight Engineers Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) and Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos undocked their Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft from the International Space Station to return back to Earth and land in Kazakhstan at 9:43 a.m. (7:43 p.m. Kazakh time). Their return wraps up 199 days in space, during which they traveled...
2015: A SpaceX Odyssey
Posted on June 7, 2015
A tribute to Stanley Kubrick. To those of you who watched 2001: A Space Odyssey, this will look very familiar.Credit: SpaceX...
SpaceX Pad Abort Test
Posted on May 15, 2015
SpaceX dixit:This will be the first flight test of SpaceX’s revolutionary new launch abort system, and the odds of encountering delays or issues are high. Fortunately the test doesn’t need to be perfect to be valuable—our primary objective is to capture as much data as possible as the data captured here will be key in preparing Crew Dragon for its first human missions in 2017.A ...
Soyuz Progress M-27M
Posted on April 29, 2015
NASA dixit:Russian flight controllers are continuing to troubleshoot issues with the ISS Progress 59 cargo craft that was launched at 3:09 a.m. EDT (1:09 p.m.local time in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The spacecraft made another pass over Russian ground stations and continued to experience telemetry problems regarding the deployment of navigational antennas and th...
CRS-6 First Stage Landing
Posted on April 22, 2015
Rocket science is hard!Credit: SpaceX...
SpaceX CRS-6 Launch
Posted on April 15, 2015
SpaceX dixit:After six successful missions to the International Space Station, including five official resupply missions for NASA, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are set to liftoff from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for their sixth official Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the orbiting lab. Liftoff is targeted for Monday A...
One-Year Crew Launch To ISS
Posted on March 29, 2015
NASA dixit:After launching earlier in the day in their Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 43 Flight Engineer Scott Kelly of NASA, Soyuz Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) docked at the International Space Station on March 27 U.S. time (March 28 Kazakh time) following a...
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