An Introduction To Laser Ablation For Debris Removal

Ground-Based VS Space-Based Systems

Ground-based laser system
Space-based laser system

Operations

Laser Parameters

  • Space-based system’s distance from the debris, since the longer the laser travels, the more energy it loses
  • And solar panel efficiency, since some lasers, like UV wavelength lasers, require a lot of energy, and would therefore require extremely efficient solar panels to work.

Current Models

Why Hasn’t It Been Implemented?

  1. Nothing catastrophic has happened regarding the destruction of vital satellites, although many researchers have argued that we’re on the brink of such an event (i.e. Kessler Syndrome)
  2. Since operating satellites and the ISS are still surviving using shielding and emergency maneuvers, there is less urgency to remove space debris.
  3. There is no economic incentive to remove space debris. The space industry is infamously expensive, with launches costing thousands of dollars per kilogram. Until many operating satellites are destroyed by space debris, it’s difficult to see the economic gain from spending millions of dollars removing space debris.
  4. Policy surrounding space property has developed very little since the 1960s, despite the industry developing a lot. This makes removing debris legally complicated, since its difficult to identify who owns a centimeter-sized piece of metal.

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15 y/o that loves space, science, tech, and philosophy.

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Chloe Wang

Chloe Wang

15 y/o that loves space, science, tech, and philosophy.

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