On October 4th 1957 the Soviet Union (now Russian Federation) launched the first satellite into low Earth orbit known as Sputnik 1. The last contact made with the spacecraft was 22 days later and, until its descent into Earth’s atmosphere where it disintegrated on January, 4th 1958, it was technically “space junk.” Since that time humans have launched an enormous amount of things into space under the idea that space was so vast that we could never fill it up. Thanks to Donald Kessler we now have a collision based model that shows that this is not true. The purpose of this lab is to give a greater understanding to the amount of human made material in space, its beginnings and dangers, and what is being done about it.
Use the given links or the internet to answer these questions:
Go to http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1958-002B
Vanguard 1 is the oldest piece of space junk recently passing the 50 years in orbit mark.
1. Vanguard 1 was launched in ______ and the last contact was made in ______. The original orbit was estimated to last 2,000 years but that has been reduced to _____ years. Go to http://www.satview.org/decay.php
2. What are the total number of satellites or fragments monitored?
3. What are the next five satellites or fragments to fall?
4. In the upper left corner there is a list of objects. On what day is the next reentry predicted.
Go to http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/the-seriousness-of-the-kessler-syndrome/
5. What is the “Kessler Syndrome”?
6. How many pieces of orbital debris are we currently tracking?
7. If spaceflight is stopped for the next two hundred years what is the projected total amount of…