Will Cubesats increase the Space Junk problem?

15 August 2010

Question

My question is about space junk and satellite tracking. There is so much junk currently in orbit, that act as projectiles, and the junk can destroy functioning satellites. Won't these tiny CubeSats greatly increase this problem?

Answer

Ben - Earth's orbit is becoming very crowded, but it's a great question. I asked Chris Castelli, who said that CubeSats will only be in low earth orbits, only 90 to 100 kilometres above the ground. And as there's still an atmosphere up there, that will exert a drag on the CubeSats, and they will quite naturally drop out of orbit, and harmlessly burn up in the atmosphere. So, existing satellites should be safe.

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