Re: GEO debris (was: Re: Useless hypotheses)

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Sat Dec 22 2001 - 11:24:58 MST

Amara Graps wrote:

> Spike Jones wrote:
> >>> Only seldom are solids used in upper stages. In addition to being
> >> relatively crummy for specific impulse, it is difficult to ensure all
> >> the exhaust products will re-enter.... a bunch of phlogiston is sprayed
> >> into orbit that could damage other satellites.
> That stuff can remain in orbit for a long time too. (years and decades)

Ja, there was a space shuttle experiment a few years ago that
was slightly damaged by a particle they think was a hundreds
of microns diameter bit of solid rocket motor slag. There had
not been a solid motor launch for some time before that mission.

> Some space agencies use solid rocket boosters more than other agencies.

The French were using solids way up, I understand. NASA has
been pretty responsible with high solids, but that stands to reason
I suppose. They have a lot to lose.

> I'm not sure which agency uses which but we can tell from our dust/debris
> data when a satellite boost with a solid rocket boost occured: ESA/Our
> dust detector on the GORID satellite in GEO often detects large
> increases in debris particles right after an ESA (? or NASA?) boost
> (I'll check). Amara

Cool thanks! I would be interested in that.

Our sub-launched nukes are all-stages solid, but of course they
are sub-orbital, and we've never had a final stage flip around
fiery end first. The last 96 test flights in a row have all been

I heard of a theoretical mechanism which I find intriguing,
but Im not sure I believe it. They say a few exhaust particles
can somehow backscatter against its own exhaust plume, and
end up going almost the same direction and almost the same
velocity as the motor which just ejected it. Some computer
modelling guy figured out a few parts per trillion can
scatter off the plume in such a way as to go *forward* of the
rocket. Does that make any sense at all? Seemed kinda far
fetched to me. spike

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