Submitted by DevilsRefugee t3_11djjvb in space

There's a few companies like ClearSpace cropping up but one thing that isn't clear is who is going to pay for this service?

The company who sent the satellites or whatever in the first place (assuming they're still operating), the country of origin, the national space agency?

A lot of this feels like Ocean Cleanup initiatives, great idea on paper to have robots do a bit of spring cleaning but wholly useless at scale.



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stevep98 t1_ja9n0n1 wrote

No one is going to pay for it until it becomes a threat to their livelihood. Then they will do just enough to benefit them.


Impossible-Error166 t1_jaaot3d wrote

While true, there are cavoites that are imposed for certain space agency's to either have enough fuel to boost to a graveyard orbit or deorbit and burn up.


Ok-Hunt6574 t1_jaar1sj wrote

They will give politicians small campaign donations so the public pays for the private pollution, just like they planned.


mrxexon t1_ja9dut1 wrote

It's not going to be a thing for years yet. And some countries like the US, Russia, and China don't want anyone near their property. National security stuff is at stake.

But someday? There will be a Fred Sanford of the orbital space junkyard. Salvage will be big business. And it will generate income for those that wish to get into it.


Sonofyuri t1_ja9y9qd wrote

"Dad. It's just a consumer shuttle... It's not worth much."



TiggerTheMad t1_jaa12v8 wrote

If you put robots with nano-assemblers in orbit, then anything not in use is free mass that has already been elevated out of the gravity well.

What does NASA pay per pound, 15k USD or so? Eventually this might be really valuable...


SwiftTime00 t1_jabthbo wrote

Once we’re at the point of nano assemblers in orbit, the cost of mass to orbit will be a minuscule fraction of that.


Western_Entertainer7 t1_jac7zbu wrote does physical security work with satellites anyway? What's to stop us from sending little spy robots to a Chinese spy satellite?

Is this how the first space war is going to start?🤔🤔🤔


Hadrollo t1_jacg1tk wrote

Basically every country agrees not to fuck with each other's stuff. The cost of getting mass to orbit and the rather limited intel that little robot can gather makes it work.

Well before we see Moonraker level satellite theft, we have to contend with the much cheaper "let's just shoot them down" option. This capability is currently only within the reach of countries that already have an active space program or are aligned with a country that does. The worry is if two smaller nations decide to try it to get the upper hand in a conflict.


mrxexon t1_jacmp6s wrote

If it's a military or spy satellite, it most likely is equpped with a small explosive charge. It's better to blow it up than have some other country looking over the technology. It also prevents it from being recovered should it ever fall back through the atmosphere.


Western_Entertainer7 t1_jacn0q5 wrote

. . . seems like knocking them out would be useful in a large war. I'm watching Moonraker right now to check.


Chilkoot t1_ja9m9py wrote

> Who pays for space debris removal?

Seldom the ones who make the mess, just like pretty much everything else.


trhaynes t1_ja9qco1 wrote

The same people who pay to have the trash picked up from your curb.


Mapleson_Phillips t1_ja9qknk wrote

We need to get over our culture of free pollution.


ShortfallofAardvark t1_ja9pf2m wrote

Considering how important space junk remove will become soon as the number of satellites in orbit continues to increase exponentially, I would say that likely NASA or more probably the Space Force would pay for the time being. In the future, with more legislation we could see a space launch tax aimed at funding removal of space junk or requirements for satellite owners to directly pay the bill if their satellite dies in orbit and needs to be removed.


andygates2323 t1_jaa4rhr wrote

Yep, this is how it will work. A chunk of each launch permit fee goes into a clearance pot.


Decronym t1_jaa33m1 wrote

Acronyms, initialisms, abbreviations, contractions, and other phrases which expand to something larger, that I've seen in this thread:

|Fewer Letters|More Letters| |-------|---------|---| |IM|Initial Mass deliverable to a given orbit, without accounting for fuel| |LEO|Low Earth Orbit (180-2000km)| | |Law Enforcement Officer (most often mentioned during transport operations)| |RTG|Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator| |VLEO|V-band constellation in LEO| | |Very Low Earth Orbit|

|Jargon|Definition| |-------|---------|---| |Starlink|SpaceX's world-wide satellite broadband constellation|

^(5 acronyms in this thread; )^(the most compressed thread commented on today)^( has 17 acronyms.)
^([Thread #8628 for this sub, first seen 27th Feb 2023, 23:10]) ^[FAQ] ^([Full list]) ^[Contact] ^([Source code])


JGrill17 t1_jaa8e3m wrote

Someday someone's gonna salvage all that junk for profit don't think it's gonna be done for the good of humanity lol


jossief1 t1_jaao76z wrote

The company or government that launched them. Constellation operators have major interest in removal services, but also there are new regulations that require them to deorbit within 5 years of end of mission. Even if the satellites have the ability to maneuver themselves, failed satellites would need help from a removal service.


[deleted] t1_jaat3bz wrote

I can’t imagine that anyone is going to clean up anything. 😥


iLLxEM1 t1_jabwfw8 wrote

Isn't it kinda like living in Oxnard...just throw your trash anywhere...its one cares to pick it up


Complex_Material_702 t1_jaclbsa wrote

It will eventually just boil down to sending large bombs into space to either blast debris farther into space or closer to Earth so it falls back through the atmosphere and burns up/crashes. We're almost captive as it is.


Omena123 t1_jadbaly wrote

Most likely governments will force space companies to do it -> cost will be baked in to launch price -> customers fund it


aramil2001 t1_ja9xdgy wrote

Assuming that the company could somehow remove the radiation in the items that they remove they could potentially salvage the materials and get their money back that way


TiggerTheMad t1_jaa1nfk wrote

What radiation? Are you thinking RTGs? I don't think they are typically used in things that are going to eventually de-orbit, it seems like a really bad idea. Unless you are orbiting some uranium enrichment plants, there isn't going to be radiation to remove.

Bombarded by cosmic rays != radioactive


aramil2001 t1_jaa3ct0 wrote

Well some quick googling shows I was incorrect they stopped sending RTGs in the 80s so the majority of the cost is getting crews up there. I’d think if it was satellite removal there’d be enough gold and valuable materials to make a profit


Pharisaeus t1_jac476e wrote

> I’d think if it was satellite removal there’d be enough gold and valuable materials to make a profit

What? No! Not even remotely close. There is no "gold" other then maybe tiny amount in eletronics. I'm not sure what you think satellites are made of, but it's essentially like trying to recover "materials" from your old car, old refrigerator, old PC or old mobile phone. Completely unprofitable even when you have those things readily available on the ground.


ctiger12 t1_ja9yqxp wrote

I believe the materials they used are worth something, it’s like space mining but in small scale, but consider the close proximity, also much cheaper than go beyond moon and mine some asteroids far far away.


DrSartorius t1_ja9gcsm wrote

do you wana buy Brooklyn Bridge? just today just for you - very low price


Socksmaster t1_ja9m50q wrote

what are you even implying here?


Gen_Ripper t1_ja9n5m4 wrote

That space cleanup is a scam

I think


zeeblecroid t1_jaa36hv wrote

Pretty much. It's a black hole into which VC dollars fall and no useful product will escape, at least with any of the startups claiming to be working on the problem. They're always talking about direct physical rendezvous with some gimmicky method of capturing one single piece of debris, which isn't ever going to so much as dent the problem.

It's laser brooms or nothing, and none of the startups are looking in that direction - again, because none of them have any real intention of following through anyway.


Pigs_in_the_Porridge t1_ja95pbn wrote

Make SpaceX pay for it. They're filling up orbit with thousands of pieces of trash.


Brusion t1_ja97bc0 wrote

If you're talking about Starlink, those are self clearing orbits. Anything without propulsion clears in VLEO/LEO from 3 months to 3 years. Hence why those satellites have ion thrusters. The issue is higher orbits, where they are not self clearing.


em1091 t1_ja99z6h wrote

I’m so fucking tired of this lie. You know damn well this isn’t true. Stop spreading misinformation.


Pigs_in_the_Porridge t1_ja9ao40 wrote

Elon, you need to be running twitter.

Ask astronomers. Starlink is destroying ground-based astronomy.


very_humble t1_ja9h30h wrote

Your original argument was that they were making too much space junk, now it's about night sky pollution. Pick a point to argue and stick with it


bangonthedrums t1_ja9ddsu wrote

No one is doing serious optical astronomy from ground based stations. The distortion from the atmosphere alone is far worse for astronomy than starlink


Pigs_in_the_Porridge t1_jaa86y8 wrote

You are very ill informed, eg. ignorant.

Do you know what a guidestar is? Do you know about adaptive optics?

Exoplanet hunting is very much done on the ground.

The black hole at the center of the Milky Way was discovered using telescopes in Hawaii. Won a Nobel Prize a few years ago.

And many many other recent discoveries.

SpaceX shills push this line and it is very much demonstrably false. Thousands of astronomers rely on ground based optical astronomy for their careers and they are extremely POed that a private company can ruin their work for profit.


Frankasti t1_ja9h6zv wrote

Yeah. I'm not sure why anybody would think walking is still needed when we have supersonic planes. /s


BackItUpWithLinks t1_ja9f6vd wrote

SpaceX should pay for a satellite China launched before SpaceX was a company?

That’s just dumb.