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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

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.
Tracking Space Weather for New Horizons
Posted on July 15, 2015
A few months before New Horizons was due to reach Pluto, a community of scientists came together to determine just what kind of a environment the mission would experience during its historic flyby. While the simulations aren't 100% conclusive, this first ever attempt to characterize space weather conditions so far from our own home opens the door to better protecting our spacecraft – and eventually humans -- as we continue to explore the solar system and beyond.
CME in 304 Angstrom
Posted on July 9, 2015
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught this image of an eruption on the side of the sun on June 18, 2015. The eruption ultimately escaped the sun, growing into a substantial coronal mass ejection, or CME — a giant cloud of solar material traveling through space.
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...
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