Satellite-based telecommunication and navigation systems emerged years ago. Now environmental agencies and offshore industries are among those using products based on data from European satellites.
Scientists will tell you, "Space debris is an urgent issue. We've got novel technology to deal with it. But we can't get the funding." It's a lot like climate change. But do we really want to wait until it's too late?
From ATOX to vacuum, and radiation in between, engineers have to overcome heaps of issues in spacecraft design. So spare a thought for those trying to do something new, like Reaction Engines and Oxford Space Systems.
In 60 years of space exploration, we've placed almost 7,000 satellites in orbit. Less than a third still function. The rest is dangerous junk - and their number is growing. Here's how we might mitigate the threat.
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