House of Representatives: Save Vital Industries by Cleaning Up Orbital Debris

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For over half a century, our world’s living standards have drastically improved because of satellites; they provide us with many great benefits including our smartphones’ telecommunications systems, GPS in airplanes, live international news, and time-tracking systems that our power grids rely on. Through all these benefits, satellites contribute trillions of dollars to our global economy. However, we are at risk of losing all these benefits if we do not act soon because of orbital debris: out-of-control pieces of debris orbiting the Earth that can easily destroy satellites. We will be unable to use our smart phones, be forced to rely on paper maps, and be forced to live without the weather prediction systems we have today. For these reasons, we need to clean up orbital debris. Sign, promote, and share this petition to demand the US government to start subsidizing satellite manufacturers who demonstrate plans to build orbital debris-removing satellites.

Even tiny pieces of orbital debris are devastating to satellites because they travel at speeds of 17,500mi/h. In fact, in 2011, we have lost about $600 million due to damages from orbital debris collisions. Our losses will certainly increase if we do not act on this problem because every time a satellite is destroyed via orbital debris, the destroyed satellite’s remains become even more orbital debris, which can then cause the destruction of even more satellites.

Thomas Junghyun Yoo and Juwon Albert Moon are starting this petition because orbital debris has the potential to make our Earth’s orbit unsuitable for satellite and rocket launches- thus having the potential to cause billions of dollars of damage to our global economy. If we fail to act on this problem, the loss of our GPS systems will lead to disruptions in many industries such as banking, power grids, and transportation.

Likewise, both manned and unmanned space exploration will become a thing of the past, as our Earth’s orbit will become unsuitable for rocket launches.

Currently, there is only one satellite (RemoveDEBRIS) that has been developed that is capable of removing orbital debris.

For this reason, we need to incentivize satellite manufacturers to develop and deploy more satellites like RemoveDEBRIS to give our planet a chance against orbital debris. The best way to do this would be via a reasonable government subsidy or tax cut for satellite manufacturers who have real plans to develop and then create satellites that will clean up orbital debris. If we can get satellite manufacturers to build more of these junk-removing satellites, we may have a chance to clean up our Earth’s orbit and ensure that our modern way of life will not become a thing of the past.

While the US government is addressing the issue by tracking pieces of orbital debris to minimize the amount of damage they cause, the tracking technology is not sophisticated enough to prevent satellites from being damaged. Today’s tracking systems can only track pieces of orbital debris that are 5cm or larger. However, pieces of orbital debris that are 1cm or larger have the potential to seriously damage a satellite. For this reason, the only real solution to this problem is to actively clean up our Earth’s orbit, which can only be done through the deployment of space-junk removing satellites.

It is also important to note that the US has been one of the largest contributors to orbital debris within the last half-century. This is because orbital debris is created every time a rocket is launched, and the US has had a very long history of launching rockets into space. Furthermore, the US is the nation with the most to lose from orbital debris- out of the 3,372 operational satellites in orbit, 1,897 of them belong to the US. As such, because our nation has been a leader in space exploration and has the most to lose from orbital debris, it is time for our nation to retake the mantle of leadership and lead the rest of the world in cleaning up orbital debris.

The House of Representative should introduce a bill that subsidizes or gives a tax cut to satellite manufacturers that have demonstrated genuine plans to deploy orbital debris-removing satellites within the next 5 years.