Space Debris

One thing I am a bit hung up on is the implication that the general public can help with cataloging debris using cameras. Not disagreeing that debris is a huge problem or that the general public can help with finding lost objects and/or objects that aren’t in the USSF catalog.

How exactly does TruSat intend to contribute to the problem of finding/identifying debris? Perhaps first, can someone define debris? Maybe a rocket body qualifies (not to me).

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There are three main types of debris in my opinion. Anything in orbit that is uncontrolled including rocket bodies could be considered debris. Debris is also a description of the fairings, separator rods, and other expected small pieces that occur on many launches. And then there is debris that represents pieces a formerly larger objects that have exploded or been collided with.

So to answer your question, I interpret one of our main objectives is to track as many of these three types of debris as possible. In some cases, the debris will in fact be too small for visual or imaging tracking, and it will require radar or other means to keep it recorded. But for other targets, the size and orbit of the piece in question will be amenable to Independent tracking via Trusat.

Excellent question, @thkru

I hope this this page provides some clarity.

I can’t phrase it better than @Brian.Israel did there, but here’s my oversimplified take…

The act of cataloging debris on its own won’t necessarily reduce future debris. But we’re betting that by having many eyes on the objects orbiting Earth (active satellites and debris), we can form an independent, unbiased, transparent source of SSA data. And by having a data source that everyone can trust to be open and accurate, in-orbit behavior can be more effectively regulated, thus raising costs for unsustainable operations.

In other words, TruSat was founded on the hypothesis that decentralizing the data source will create trusted data, which will strengthen accountability, which will financially incentive more sustainable operations, which will reduce the risk of new space debris.

And as a side note on the parties making observations… while the language currently on TruSat.org was written to speak to amateurs and citizen scientist, the long-term vision is for the system to be permissionless, where any entity can dump data in. It could be a single stargazer with binoculars, or a well-funded institution with sophisticated equipment. Their impact on the record will be weighted according to various confidence factors.