Junk In Spaaace

While there have been efforts for decades to stop polluting Earth, nobody said we can't do it off-world. So, sure, why not? That's basically what's been going on as a certain someone endlessly launches satellites into low orbit, NASA and other organizations work to explore space, and we build a hodgepodge of infrastructure in zero gravity.

But what happens when all that stuff becomes junk? Well, debris in space is supposed to be 'deorbited'. However, it seems that Dish Network didn't quite do that to their decommissioned equipment, and the FCC is none too pleased. Jennifer Pattison Tuohy at The Verge has more.

The FCC has issued its first fine for space junk to Dish Network for not properly deorbiting its satellite. The company admitted it was liable for not shifting its EchoStar-7 to a safer spot and will pay a penalty of $150,000 and implement a compliance plan.

Dish had told the FCC it had a plan for dealing with the direct broadcast satellite way back in 2012. By May of 2022, it was going to move the EchoStar-7 186 miles (300 km) above the geostationary orbit it had worked in (22,000 miles above the surface of Earth). By February, however, Dish realized the satellite didn’t have enough propellant left to complete its maneuver, and it shut it down about 76 miles (122 km) away, where it could still prove to be a hazard.

The Verge

Kudos to the FCC for taking action on this. In my opinion, it's not enough because there's so much junk floating around our planet, causing serious hazards. In 2021, the US counted 23,000 pieces of debris floating up there. When you're living in space in a small tube for months on end, I doubt you want to worry about constant impacts to the very hull that keeps you alive.

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