Jul 25, 17 / Vir 10, 01 14:53 UTC

Utilization of near-Earth space debris in kinetic engine  

Оne interesting option - disposal of debris, especially small ones, the most dangerous, as a component of the working medium to kinetic rocket engine by Podvysotsky&Panov in deriving the cargo beyond low earth orbit, first and foremost, to the moon.

Read more kinetic workflow engine described here: http://lnfm1.sai.msu.ru/SETI/koi/articles/86.pdf (sorry, only in Russian). A bit like the old American project "Medusa", only the explosion in the focus of the reflector is not nuclear, but kinetic, due to the collision of the fragments of the working medium on a collision trajectories with a relative velocity of up to tens of km/s.

In the classic version by Podvysotsky&Panov managed "probes" face fired towards the targets. We can also use collisions of space debris, especially formed a ring in the plane of the orbit with small inclination, with targets generated by the dispenser from liquid plastic, polymerizing in the open space. Reflectors, dispensers and tanks for liquid polymer can be a model for all the "debris-fuel" spacecrafts.

This variant may solved two problems of Asgardia: active space exploration, and mitigate threats to spacecraft, including manned, from space debris.

I propose to consider the question.

Jul 26, 17 / Vir 11, 01 11:07 UTC

And about kinetic engine in English: https://jour.space/issues/issue-2-2015/

Jul 26, 17 / Vir 11, 01 22:10 UTC

I think we could collect and recycle this debris - a lot of priceless (very expensive) systems there. We may dismount and get spares for our techs.

Jul 27, 17 / Vir 12, 01 03:10 UTC

Anyone, for example, 1 kg of any substance, descended to a certain orbit, is worth something - as mass and stored kinetic energy. Compared to the cost of the composition and structure of this 1 kg - this is the magnitude of the second order of smallness.

To catch large objects for processing, probably, it is still Isaac Asimov described in the "Way of Martians", the question is - what to do with small? To shoot down into the atmosphere in any way - is a senseless expenditure of the substance and energy on spraying in the atmosphere, plus the additional cost of this process with any method of churning. Chasing them and catching to processing - the more meaningless, fuel consumption repeatedly exceeds the value of the raw materials.

I was just thinking about the possibility to dispose of this material and its kinetic energy as they are.

The use of garbage in the kinetic engine will require an unprecedented exact tracking for guidance - it should get to the right target and not to the payload or construction. But so and so will have to track and catalog, especially since the number of satellites that the garbage can damage, in the next few years will increase dramatically.

So in any case, the problem is what is called a trend.

Jul 27, 17 / Vir 12, 01 03:11 UTC

See also https://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=38184&cpage=1#comment-164278.

In this geometry of InflateSail it is possible to test the reflector of kinetic engine - at least disposable, for single-pulse orbital transfer maneuver.

Jul 27, 17 / Vir 12, 01 12:58 UTC

I've read this but i don't understand  how to accelerate targets?

Sep 27, 18 / Sco 18, 02 03:45 UTC


Novoseltsev D. A.

On the possibility of rational utilization of fragments of near-Earth space debris and meteoroid matter using kinetic jet engines

At present, the accumulation of space debris (SD) in near-Earth orbits, primarily in the most actively used ones, is beginning to pose a significant problem. While maintaining the current trend of its accumulation and increasing the total number of spacecrafts in operation, in the near future the SD may pose a threat of damage to the spacecrafts, many times exceeding the threat of collision from fragments of natural meteoroid bodies, and can significantly complicate space activities.

Passive methods of spacecrafts protection from SD due to different variants of their armoring are ineffective in most cases and significantly worsen their mass characteristics.

Active methods of protection against SD, with all their diversity, are mainly aimed at braking sufficiently large fragments of debris, reducing their orbit and subsequent destruction in the atmosphere. Such an approach cannot be considered either sufficiently effective or rational. With the mass efficiency of spacecraft launch vehicles characteristic to date, the payload is about 2% of the launch mass of the launcher - about 50 kg of the launch mass of the launcher, mainly fuel, with the corresponding environmental load on the medium, was used to give the orbital speed to each 1 kg of SD. The destruction of this piece of debris also requires the development and manufacture of a specialized spacecraft, and its insertion into an appropriate orbit, including environmental costs. 

Even less effective are known proposals for the collection and processing of SD – due to the relatively small mass of its individual fragments moving along different trajectories, such activities are much more complicated compared to the recently considered hypothetical mining on asteroids and other sufficiently large celestial bodies.

The problem is complicated by the fact that the reduction of the threats of collision of SD with spacecrafts by known methods cannot be commercialized at present, and in this regard is of interest only for states or large companies engaged in space activities, for the limited protection of the most valuable spacecrafts.

As a rational variant of economically expedient utilization of SD fragments, it is proposed to consider the possibility of its use as an external source of energy and a working substance for spacecraft maneuvers using a kinetic jet engine (KJE). The concept of KJD is stated in a number of articles [1, 2] and finally formulated in the form of a “kinetic sail” by Podvysotsky and Panov [3]. The proposed design is essentially similar to the concept of a pulsed nuclear rocket engine with a sail, developed in the United States within the framework of the “Medusa” project [4], based on the implementation of the explosion in the focus of the sail, followed by the transmission of the impulse of the expanding products of the explosion of the inner working surface of the sail. With a sufficiently large sail area, the dynamic and thermal load on its structure does not exceed the permissible values for the structural materials used.

“Kinetic sail” involves the use of energy is not nuclear, and kinetic explosion, in the classical model of V. V. Podvysotsky – in a controlled collision of specialized spacecrafts ("probes") with "targets" in the focus of sail [3]. In case of utilization of SD in KJE function of "probes" is performed by fragments of SD, and "target" is located on board of spacecraft. The most probable use of the KJE are single-pulse inter-orbital flights, although with additional propulsion engines and gravitational maneuvers spacecraft with KJE possible for further travel within Solar system and beyond.

In a frontal collision of a fragment of SD with a target at their counter motion with orbital velocities, the specific kinetic energy of the collision will be about 1,3x108 J. With the specific heat of combustion of traditional chemical rocket fuels of the order of 107 J / kg, the use of 1 kg of SD and 1 kg of the material of target on board the spacecraft is energy equivalent to the use of 10-15 kg of fuel on board the spacecraft for a similar maneuver, and taking into account the efficiency of the launch vehicles – more than 500 kg of the launch mass of the launcher. In this case, the utilization of SD in the KJE is economically feasible, and can be commercialized in the implementation of space activities, including relatively small private companies.

The use of unmanaged fragments of SD or the natural meteorite bodies in the KJE instead of managed "probes" requires very accurate data about their mass and coordinates. But the solution of this problem for the entire array of KM in the near – earth space in any case is relevant for the near future-at least to ensure early evasion maneuvers of particularly valuable spacecrafts.

In addition to the absence of formal legal prohibitions on their practical implementation, the advantages of the KJE compared to pulsed nuclear rocket engines of the “Medusa” type are the exclusion of the radiation impact of the explosion on the structure and payload, as well as the absence of restrictions on the minimum power of the kinetic explosion (as opposed to nuclear). The latter not only greatly simplifies the experimental flight testing of the KJE, but also allows the use of small fragments of SD for interorbital flights of the currently popular nano- and femtoclass spacecrafts, as well as a new type of StarChip [5].

In the future, the development of the Solar system may be more widely used in KJE so bodies with large masses and orbital velocities. Thus, it may be appropriate to use the objects that make up the outer rings of Saturn to launch massive payloads into the outer region of the Solar system and beyond with the using of KJE.

  1. Valentin Podvisotsky. Kinetic jet engine mode of application. Space Colonization Journal, Issue 2, 2015, pp. 1-16.
  2. Alexander Panov. On the possibility of using the Podvysotsky kinetic engine for flights within the Solar system and to create an interstellar probe. Space Colonization Journal, Issue 5, 2014. 
  3. В.В. Подвысоцкий.Некоторые способы использования космического паруса. 22 с. http://lnfm1.sai.msu.ru/SETI/koi/articles/86.pdf
  4. Johndale C. Solem. Some New Ideas for Nuclear Explosive Spacecraft Propulsion. LA-12189-MS, October 1991. https://fas.org/sgp/othergov/doe/lanl/docs1/00189777.pdf
  5. http://breakthroughinitiatives.org/news/12

Sep 7, 19 / Lib 26, 03 09:22 UTC

В апреле 2019 г. на конференции по проблемам космического мусора в ИКИ РАН я представил концепцию рациональной утилизации космического мусора, в основном его мелких фрагментов (не устраняемых другими способами) в качестве источника энергии для межорбитальных маневров космических аппаратов с помощью устройства, принципиально известного как "кинетический реактивный (или ракетный) двигатель".

Особенность данного технического решения в том, что процесс утилизации космического мусора (в отличие от других способов), становится самоокупаемым и даже рентабельным, т.к. может дать заметный выигрыш в массе космических аппаратов (здесь действует та же "жульническая бухгалтерия", что и в сравнении удельного импульса ЖРД и ТРД на одинаковом горючем - мусор уже присутствует в космосе, как окислитель в воздухе, и энергия для его отправки туда уже затрачена ранее).

Специфика заключаеися также в том, что наиболее привлекателен данный вариант для сверхлеких космических аппаратов нового формата StarChip массой в несколько грамм, таких, как создаваемый сейчас AmbaSat стоимостью около 4 тыс. руб. за штуку или 10 тыс. руб. включая пусковые услуги. Такая техника может представлять значительный интерес даже для небольших компаний и частных лиц, в более отдаленном будущем - в качестве "гаджетов".

После этого я предпринимал несколько попыток довести проект до реальной конструкции, подтверждающей его работоспособность, за счет заявок на гранты различных отечественных институтов развития, работающих со стартапами и/или НИОКР. Ряд заявок до сих пор готовится, другие находятся на рассмотрении, по многим дан более или менее вежливый отказ или перенос "до лучших времен". В одной из структур (при предварительной экспертной оценке рынка в 5 млрд. долларов) была дана четкая формулировка: "Стоп-фактор: отсутствие софинансирования".

В этой связи для выполнения ряда предварительных НИОКР для проработки рабочего процесса и подтверждения работоспособности технического решения, для последующего взаимодействия с институтами развития по расширению работ, мной инициирован краудфандинговый проект "КРД-КМ - космический двигатель на мелком космическом мусоре" (https://boomstarter.ru/projects/442015/krd-km_-_kosmicheskiy_dvigatel_na_melkom_kosmicheskom_musore?fbclid=IwAR1wDymMVN592hUzFqCWjd2z6_pVB4WeknCK72KQK-Kc2JSThRzkOUzyPpk) на платформе Boomstarter, где ранее успешно реализован ряд других космических проектов ("Маяк", проект лунного спутника и т.п.).

Всех заинтересованных прошу по возможности поддержать проект.

  Last edited by:  Dmitry Novoseltsev (Asgardian)  on Sep 7, 19 / Lib 26, 03 09:25 UTC, Total number of edits: 1 time