CU Aerospace is working to reduce dangerous space debris with the development of its responsible space micropropulsion systems.
Spun out of the University of Illinois Aerospace Engineering Department in 1998, Champaign Urbana Aerospace (CU Aerospace) is working to improve the currently available technology in the aerospace industry to enhance both flight and space flight, and to combat the growing problem of dangerous space debris that threatens to hinder future space exploration and commercial space flight.
Tackling space debris
Currently, there are around 33,000 pieces of space debris larger than 10cm in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). At this altitude, the debris can travel at a velocity of 8km a second – the equivalent of 17,000 mph. Satellites that are past end-of-life and objects that have collided with each other in space can create this debris which scatters around, which can cause a chain reaction known as ‘Kessler syndrome’ whereby thousands of smaller pieces of debris are created through the collision.
This problem means satellites and people are unable to launch safely through the debris field.
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