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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

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.
Soyuz TMA-18M
Posted on September 6, 2015
After launching on September 2 in their Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 45 Soyuz Commander Sergei Volkov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency (Kazcosmos) arrived at the International Space Station on Sept. 4. They docked their craft to the Poisk module on the Russian segment of the complex.
HTV -5 Berthing
Posted on August 30, 2015
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) “Kounotori” H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-5) arrived at the International Space Station Aug. 24 to deliver almost five tons of supplies and scientific experiments to the Expedition 44 crew. The cargo vehicle was launched atop a Japanese H-IIB rocket Aug. 19 from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.
1999 JD6 a.k.a. 85989
Posted on August 15, 2015
(85989) 1999 JD6 is an Aten asteroid, near-Earth object, and potentially hazardous object in the inner Solar System that makes frequent close approaches to Earth and Venus. [...] Although 1999 JD6 in its current orbit never passes closer than 0.047 AU to Earth, it is listed as a potentially hazardous object because it is large and might pose a threat in the future. The asteroid is well-observed, having been observed over 1,500 times over a length of over 25 years, and was assigned a numeric designation in August 2004.
Ceres 3D Tour
Posted on August 12, 2015
Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Its diameter is approximately 945 kilometers (587 miles), making it the largest of the minor planets within the orbit of Neptune. The thirty-third largest known body in the Solar System, it is the only one within the orbit of Neptune that is designated a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Composed of rock and ice, Ceres is estimated to comprise approximately one third of the mass of the entire asteroid belt. Ceres is the only object in the asteroid belt known to be unambiguously rounded by its own gravity. From Earth, the apparent magnitude of Ceres ranges from 6.7 to 9.3, and hence even at its brightest, it is too dim to be seen with the naked eye, except under extremely dark skies.
Flight over Atlantis Chaos
Posted on August 3, 2015
Explore the Atlantis Chaos region of Mars, in the Red Planet’s southern hemisphere. The video showcases a myriad of features that reflect a rich geological history. The tour takes in rugged cliffs and impact craters, alongside parts of ancient shallow, eroded basins. See smooth plains scarred with wrinkled ridges, scarps and fracture lines that point to influence from tectonic activity. Marvel at ‘chaotic’ terrain – hundreds of small peaks and flat-topped hills that are thought to result from the slow erosion of a once-continuous solid plateau. This entire region may once have played host to vast volumes of water – look out for the evidence in the form of channels carved into steep-sided walls.
Mars' Ancient Ocean
Posted on August 1, 2015
Mars bears ample evidence of a wet past, but scientists debate just how much water the planet has lost over time. Now, isotopic measurements by researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center reveal that an ocean covered approximately twenty percent of early Mars.
Soyuz TMA-17M Launch and Docking
Posted on July 25, 2015
Expedition 44 Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren and Flight Engineer Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched on the Russian Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft on July 23, Kazakh time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to begin a six-hour journey to the International Space Station and the start of a five-month mission. They docked their craft to the Rassvet module on the Russian segment of the complex.
SpaceX CRS-7 Launch Update
Posted on July 20, 2015
On June 28, 2015, following a nominal liftoff, Falcon 9 experienced an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank approximately 139 seconds into flight, resulting in loss of mission. Prior to the mishap, the first stage of the vehicle, including all nine Merlin 1D engines, operated nominally; the first stage actually continued to power through the overpressure event on the second stage for several seconds following the mishap. In addition, the Dragon spacecraft not only survived the second stage event, but also continued to communicate until the vehicle dropped below the horizon and out of range.
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