The company that wants to turn space junk into space stations

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Even though SpaceX works to make rockets reusable, space launches still leave pieces of garbage in orbit. How can space garbage be reused?

To use all those often dangerous debris, Wired has new details about a company called Nanoracks, which has a plan to collect space debris and turn it into new space stations and habitats – with all productions made in orbit.

Nanoracks CEO Jeffrey Manber is particularly interested in abandoned space objects because they have many of the features that would make a space station safe and successful. according to Wired.

But this level of manufacturing and renovation has never been achieved in orbit. So, as proof of the concept’s mission, a Nanoracks robot will take a ride on a SpaceX rotation in May, where it will drill through the same metal that makes up rocket fuel tanks in a closed room – the first time, reports Wired, when the metal will be cut in the vacuum of space.

“NASA has repeatedly considered the idea of ​​reconditioning fuel tanks,” Manber told Wired. “But it has always been abandoned, usually because the technology was not yet at that advanced level.”

If his plan works, Manber says he believes that “messages about cleaning up space debris will move away from a grim scientific imperative to being a proverbial gold mine.” “When I look 15 or 20 years ago, there will be research missions looking for good things to save,” he told Wired. “You will have prospectors looking for parts and will use them for assembly in space. It will be one of the great markets of the future. “

Space garbage, a real problem

Three years ago, several scientists gathered in Germany to attend a conference that covered a less well-considered aspect of space. Space garbage. It has the potential to become a serious problem for both the Earth and the satellites orbiting the planet. A solution had to be found to gather and destroy it.

There are over a hundred million drifting drifting in Earth’s orbit, of which at least 29,000 are large enough to cause serious damage. The garbage cloud consists of disused satellites and equipment abandoned due to space missions. There have been several proposals over time to get rid of it, the best being the one that came from the European Space Agency (ESA) three years ago.


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