In the news: on a mission to clean up space

In the news: on a mission to clean up space

by Maryanne Blacker

22 November, 2018

Professor Craig Smith has been passionate about astronomy and science since he was a child. Now as CEO of EOS Space Systems, he’s helping build giant lasers to prevent space debris from colliding and creating chaos in our communication and navigation systems on Earth.

In 2009, an active Iridium satellite and a dead Russian satellite crashed into each other and spawned 5,000 new bits of space junk, all of which are still floating around up there.

There’s now so much space debris that even if we never launched another thing, it could proliferate because frequent collisions are creating new flotsam, Professor Craig Smith, Chief Executive Officer and Technical Director for EOS Space Systems says.

Increased space debris boosts the possibility of damage to space vehicles, shuttles and satellites as orbits get more crowded. In 2014, the International Space Station had to move three times to avoid lumps of space debris.

“These things are travelling at 30,000kms per hour so even a collision with a very small 1cm piece of space junk is enough to destroy a satellite,” Smith says.