Ever since the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, the lower earth orbit has congested space junk that accumulates due to various satellite launches in the space. Apart from the satellites, other components that fill up the lower earth orbit include; parts of liftoff cars and mechanical disintegration, impacts, and explosions, which now fill up space with a ‘fog’ of space junk.
In recent weeks, SpaceX launched 60 of its new satellites as part of its Starlink operation. The total of satellites now presents in the low earth orbit is over 500 Starlink satellites, making it part of a process whose aim is to provide affordable satellites with the internet that is accessible by everyone. The operation plans to launch about 12000 satellites in the low earth orbit.
Amazon, Telesat firm of Canada, and other planning satellites of the same caliber have contributed to the crowding of the low earth orbit with space junk.
Space debris varies in size; for instance: from microns to many meters. Stuart Grey, an aerospace specialist at the University of Strathclyde, produced clear pictures that show over 20,000 objects of 10 centimeters moving around the Earth. There are also many million particles of even 1 millimeter and smaller.
Unprofessional space explorers have more worries concerning the shiny orbiting objects in the low earth orbit, but the concern is much massive for professionals to bear.
The manner with which the particles are crowding in the space has much impact on earth-based astronomers. Satellites with shiny surfaces reflect rays from the solar and directing a burst of sunlight towards the surface of Earth. Those sun rays are more intense as compared to other sources with weak lights observed by space explorers. Consequently, those massive harsh sun rays might hinder observations of very far objects in the sky.
SpaceX promised to help in providing solutions to preventing further piling up of space debris, and it would not take part in the deposition of space debris. SpaceX plans on testing if coating a satellite with a black surface would reduce visibility, and also, making some improvements on orbits of their satellites.
Having launched 3% of its anticipated constellation, SpaceX has made responses to some of the issues raised by space explorers. There are hopes that other organizations planning to launch satellite constellations will have upfront plans of helping reduce space junk to enhance space exploration.
When the problem of space junk is looked into with many considerations, the door to explore the space will eventually open.