back to article ESA funds space weather satellite swarm to understand and combat orbital debris

The European Space Agency has funded a mission to launch a fleet of satellites that will help scientists study space weather and how it can increase debris orbiting our home world. The project, dubbed ROARS - Revealing the Orbital and Atmospheric Responses to Solar activity – involves 26 research institutions across nine …

  1. Lurko


    Good of the ESA to fund this, especially since when the overwhelming majority of satellites are US assets, and the majority of space junk is down to the US and Russia's competing space programmes through the 1950s to 1980s.

    And we should not forget a dishonourable mention for the moronic testing of anti-satellite weapons which have dramatically worsened the debris problem - so that's the US, Russia, China, and India.

  2. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Genius, stick more satellites up there to add to the eventual problem to tell us more about a problem we already know about. I know 8 isn't exactly a huge amount given the amount up there, but surely investing in debris removal tech is the game to be in these days.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Have you skipped the part where those 8 will be safely deorbited at the end of their lifetime ?

      Because apparently, you did.

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Know what? Yes I did I admit, but there are still going to be 8 new satellites up there contributing to the already huge numbers up there, when we already know there is a space junk problem and getting rid of it is the only answer.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          You;re right about there being a space junk problem. But there are companies and agencies already spending money on possible solution. What ESA are going ro do is try to get more data on the behaviour of that debris and how it's affected b y space weather so as to better be able to clean it up when the relevant technology is ready. After all, when there's an oil spill, you don't just in and start clean up attempts without getting the best weath forecast you ca, taking note of the shape of the sea floor if it's shallow water and being observant of the water current. The more you know, the more you can adapt your techniques to the prevailing conditions, and whether it's oil spills or space junk, there are multiple different solutions that work better or worse in different conditions.

      2. NoneSuch Silver badge

        Rocket stages with fairings, nuts, bolts, Mylar tape and debris from explosive separating bolts are needed to get those sats in orbit as well. They are part of the problem.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    We need flying vacuum cleaners.

    1. Lars Silver badge

      I don't think a vaccum cleaner would work in space.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Well, that sucks. Plan 9 it is then!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "I don't think a vaccum cleaner would work in space."

        You mean it would just go "whoosh"?

      3. Spherical Cow Silver badge

        Depends which meaning they meant:

        Vacuum cleaner - cleans by using a vacuum

        Vacuum cleaner - cleans a vacuum

  4. NoneSuch Silver badge


    "ESA funds space weather satellite swarm to understand and combat orbital debris"

    That's the same logic Americans use arming teachers and expecting gun violence to decrease.

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