×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

US Lab Developing Technology For Space Traffic Control

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the near-miss dept.

Space 47

coondoggie writes "Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say they have tested technology that could eventually help them monitor and control space traffic. The driving idea behind the project is to help keep satellites and other spacecraft from colliding with each other or with debris in Low Earth Orbit."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Already Have the Technology (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46052843)

NRL [navy.mil] has had this technology since 1957.

Can it control the speed of the ICBMs? (-1, Troll)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#46053477)

No matter if it's NRL or the one from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, if they can control *ALL* space traffic, including the ICBMs, that would be wonderful.

In fact, I would very much like to encourage them to develop the technology further - by not only able to control the speed but the trajectory of the space traffic also.

That way when someone started launching ICBM to attack another, people can use that technology to turn that ICBM back to the country of origin (and reduce that country back to the kingdom come, as they fully deserve)

Re:Can it control the speed of the ICBMs? (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about a year ago | (#46055953)

Are you serious?

Re:Can it control the speed of the ICBMs? (2)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#46059499)

Sure, all it takes is a bunch of warp drive fields that can locally modify the universal gravitational constant, cancel inertia, and redirect those missiles back to their point of origin. Geordi LaForge does it all of the time to help prevent violations of various interstellar treaties or major plot points that are otherwise unsolvable.

Re:Can it control the speed of the ICBMs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46058583)

ICBMs don't work that way. Once you launch, they are standalone. no electronic warfare will work on them as they use inertial guidance.

also physics doesn't work that way. you can't just turn around in space. ICBMs don't achieve orbit, and use solid rocket motors to reach payload delivery.
once above the atmosphere they are little more then big artillery shells packed with a nuclear warhead.

whi it will be secretly known as ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46052977)

why it will be secretly known as SNSA

Space Secret Spy Intelligence Service Interplanetary

SSSISI

we can call it sisi for short...

Extremely important project (0)

mtthwbrnd (1608651) | about a year ago | (#46052983)

Just look at what happened to that guy in Gravity. He died in the end, and all because we don't have traffic lights in space yet. We need to get out there and paint some no parking lines too. That way we can fund the project, and make a lot on the side, from space parking fines. I hear that there is not a lot of room outside the Moon in the evenings. Probably best to leave the spaceship at home and use the Transporter.

Re: Extremely important project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46053213)

we already have a speed limit in space. Even light obeys it. (bigger fines that is the secret. oh, and cameras, definitley, more cameras).

Re: Extremely important project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46053255)

Thanks a lot, I hadn't seen it yet. How about a spoiler warning next time, asshat.

Re:Extremely important project (3, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#46053327)

he died because he didn't want to spend any more time with Sandra Bullock...

Re:Extremely important project (1)

Jimbob The Mighty (1282418) | about a year ago | (#46053399)

Hey dickhead, spoiler alert next time.

Re: Extremely important project (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46053575)

It's a shit movie anyways.

Re: Extremely important project (1)

mtthwbrnd (1608651) | about a year ago | (#46062991)

It's a great movie. Definitely in my top 1 Billion American movies which were released last year.

Re:Extremely important project (1)

mtthwbrnd (1608651) | about a year ago | (#46062981)

I didn't spoil anything, dickwad. I did not say which character dies in the end and in American movies you can pretty much guarantee that multiple people are going to die since the people who control the movie industry in America are obsessed with violence, death and destruction.

What is a "ground-based satellite"? (1)

MatthiasF (1853064) | about a year ago | (#46052991)

Seriously, what is it?

I thought calling something a satellite meant it was orbiting.

Re:What is a "ground-based satellite"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46053097)

Seriously, what is it?

They mean a satellite being tested on the ground before launching it.

I thought calling something a satellite meant it was orbiting.

If that were the case, then expressions like "building a satellite" would be wrong.

Re:What is a "ground-based satellite"? (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about a year ago | (#46055969)

You may build something with the intention of making it become a satellite by placing it in orbit. but until it is in orbit, it is not a satellite.

Re:What is a "ground-based satellite"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46059577)

How do you call it when it's on the ground? "something-with-the-intention-of-making-it-become-a-satellite-by-placing-it-in-orbit"?

Trust me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46053009)

As long as the system is not controlled by the US I'm quite happy with it. The US has a long road to begin to show they are trustworthy again.

Trust Me! (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#46053185)

Son, we live in a World that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns.

Who's gonna do it? You?

Re:Trust Me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46053491)

So society needs people with guns to continue, hmm you must be an american.

Son, We live in a world where a group of people think they are the world police and have decided you have no rights, no privacy and point guns at you saying it for your own safety, Avoid them.

Re:Trust Me! (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#46053817)

So society needs people with guns to continue, hmm you must be an american.

What country doesn't have a standing army, or is not a protectorate of one that does? Any you'd care to live in? Hmm, you must be a naive idealist. I wish this were not the case, but we can't put that genie back in the bottle. How well did not having an army work out for Tibet?

Son, We live in a world where a group of people think they are the world police and have decided you have no rights, no privacy and point guns at you saying it for your own safety, Avoid them.

Son, we live in a world where no country give a rats ass about privacy. Do I think it's right? Fuck no. Any country of sufficient size and economic standing spies on everyone they can. The US happened to put a lot more effort into it and got arrogant beyond belief.

What kind of utopian world do you think we had before America became what it is today? Germany sure did a great job seizing power, didn't it? Or Italy and Japan? The French and British did a fantastic job of carving up the Middle East. I'm sure the Armenians missed the Ottoman empire though. The Ottomans were so kind to them. What about the way the Dutch left Africa? That was nice. And the Spanish, they played well with other cultures. How are the Aztecs doing in Latin America these days?

Not to worry. China should surpass America as the dominant world power soon enough. It'll be unicorns and rainbows for everyone then.

Re:Trust Me! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46053989)

I'm from NZ :), we have no standing army to speak of and we are working on digital privacy, our personal privacy isn't to bad either at least to be detained their has to be at least reasonable cause. (and once we stop spying for the US on US citizens (because its illegal for them to do it) we should be good for anti spy)

oh and our police don't carry guns and the majority of people don't own a gun, not because of tight gun controls its because we don't need one.

Maybe we should change our motto to land of the free.....

Re:Trust Me! (1)

voidphoenix (710468) | about a year ago | (#46054845)

New Zealand Defense Force: Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , Home Page [nzdf.mil.nz]
New Zealand Army: Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , Home Page [army.mil.nz]
Search "new zealand armed forces": Results [disconnect.me]

Re:Trust Me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46056269)

You realise we have one of the smallest army per capita and the smallest military budget, also most of the NZ army's duties are search and rescue, we have never attacked another nation only been a part of support force for peacekeeping and logistical support (total number: 7000) oh and our navy consists of a grand total of 11 ships.

The point I'm making is we have no effective military force and we haven't been invaded/attacked although we have valuable land/resources.

Re:Trust Me! (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#46059839)

You also realize that NZ is protected under the ANZUS treaty [wikipedia.org] . Basically if New Zealand was to be seriously threatened by an invasion from another country, the whole bloody U.S. Marine Corps would be dropping onto whatever offensive was actually taking place (along with the rest of the U.S. Armed Forces).

Yes, I accept your thanks on behalf of my countrymen.

I don't mind the arrangement either, but don't go pretending that 7k people are sufficient for a proper defense by a determined enemy who wants to kick you off of those islands. There are countries who would not hesitate to invade and occupy NZ either if they thought they could get away with it, but realizing that the USA is ready to whoop ass if they try keeps them from getting stupid.

A country which does one better is Costa Rica, who decided to disband their entire military. They have a national police force, but you don't go invading other countries with just cops. Then again that country sort of enjoys the same general protection of America as well, even though it does help their economy substantially to not worry about such things like defense appropriations.

Re:Trust me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46054281)

Good thing that no one gives a shit what you think. Why do the Eurotrash, Canadians, and other irrelevant shitholes consistently inject this crap into unrelated discussions? When there is an article on something coming out of Germany or Russia, I don't see this crap about their internal problems.

So go get fucked, no one has or ever will want to hear your opinions.

ground-based satellite? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#46053027)

TFA says:

a series of six images over a 60-hour period taken from a ground-based satellite

I wonder what a "ground-based satellite" satellite is. Do they meant a telescope?

Re:ground-based satellite? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#46053371)

The only thing I could think of that would fit that title would be something we haven't built yet:
A Beanstalk
A Skyhook
A Clarke Tower
An Orbital Tower
A space elevator

I think the last term would be the one most /. readers would be familiar with, they are all names for the same obital construct

Re:ground-based satellite? (2)

AJWM (19027) | about a year ago | (#46053701)

they are all names for the same orbital construct

Not quite. Yes, they're all names for the basic idea, but there are several applications of a beanstalk that don't require an elevator. The term "space elevator" applies to a subset of the various suggested technologies. Also, a skyhook doesn't have to be anchored at the base, there have been several suggestions for rotating tethers which dip down into the atmosphere and grab payloads at their nadir.

A couple of decades back I published a paper or two on the "Aresian Well", a beanstalk and pipeline on Mars for exporting volatiles (H2O, CO2) mined at the north polar cap to elsewhere in the inner solar system. Since then we've discovered that water on e.g. the Moon isn't quite so scarce as we thought. That beanstalk was not an elevator, although you could add one.

Re:ground-based satellite? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#46053781)

Actually a skyhook is usually understood as something different from the others - a vertical or tumbling tether arrangement, not something connected to the ground nor necessarily geosynchronous.

Re:ground-based satellite? (1)

Existential Wombat (1701124) | about a year ago | (#46060921)

TFA says:

a series of six images over a 60-hour period taken from a ground-based satellite

I wonder what a "ground-based satellite" satellite is. Do they meant a telescope?

It’s a geostationary object at an altitude of 0 km.

You know, like a brick.

Misleading (5, Informative)

The Raven (30575) | about a year ago | (#46053029)

They are developing software to get better orbital trajectories. We already HAVE software that manages traffic and orbital collision warnings, but the problem is that our orbital trajectory data is too inaccurate for it to be as helpful as it should be.

Re:Misleading (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#46053309)

They are developing software to get better orbital trajectories. We already HAVE software that manages traffic and orbital collision warnings, but the problem is that our orbital trajectory data is too inaccurate for it to be as helpful as it should be.

technology that could eventually help them monitor and control space traffic.

Yeah... right... control space traffic... my as.. (no, scratch that: Uranus)... they can barely do it for airspace, almost nothing for LEO and they dream of "space"?
(sensationalism at its best in reporting)

Re:Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46054917)

I know right!

All the thousands of planes that crash everyday I'm amazed they're still allowed to fly at all!

-_-

Re:Misleading (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#46062451)

Well, controlling space vs air traffic are fairly different problems. Obviously both involve conflict resolution, but space traffic has some factors that make it both easier and harder.

Space traffic tends to maintain an unchanged ballistic trajectory for a very long period of time (days, weeks, months, years). Air traffic tends not to stay in the air for more than a few hours at a time. Air traffic is easy to maneuver - changing course costs very little compared to maintaining course, but space traffic costs nothing when you maintain cost and uses precious fuel when you change course.

So, with space traffic the idea is to plan an orbit that will be forever free of debris, lay claim to it, and put your ship in it, and then make sure you never put something else up which will conflict.

Another factor with air traffic is that the aircraft are piloted and can use collision-avoidance technology. Since maneuver is cheap, and collisions can be spotted a fair distance out, aircraft which are in conflict can steer to avoid a collision. Spacecraft on the other hand are moving at very high speed and changing course significantly on a short time scale is very expensive (both to make the correction and then to get back to the original orbit), so spotting a collision a few miles out is not sufficient - you need to spot an incoming spacecraft MUCH further away, and just figuring out if a spacecraft that far away will even collide is a problem (with aircraft the protective bubble around each one is small enough that you can just afford to dodge anything that enters it - but if you give each spacecraft a much larger bubble then you have to allow for non-conflicting spacecraft to enter it or you can't put up that many ships).

Oh, and with aircraft you can always mandate that all new aircraft will follow rules X/Y/Z and get immediate compliance. With spacecraft a piece of debris might be up there for centuries, so unless you go clean it up any improvements you make to prevent conflicts with junk will take a long time to be effective.

Bottom line - I'd say that aircraft control and spacecraft control are only very loosely connected.

Re:Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46053583)

Do the Vogons know about this? I think they already patented it.

So Let Me Get This Straight (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#46053121)

An entity that controls space traffic will be tasked with keeping satellites and other spacecraft from colliding with each other or other debris in LEO.

Kind of like airports do with air traffic controllers...

Man, I wonder how aggressive the Space TSA will be?

Re:So Let Me Get This Straight (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#46054531)

Man, I wonder how aggressive the Space TSA will be?

What? This is unacceptable! How can you not know this? You've got it backwards: The TSA came after the alien abduction leaks.

I'm filing a formal complaint with your Cultural Indoctrination & Acclimation overseers.

Ground Control to Major Tom (1)

sandbagger (654585) | about a year ago | (#46053581)

I can't bloody believe this wasn't the headline. Sheesh! You guys are slipping.

Re:Ground Control to Major Tom (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#46053623)

Major Tom-Tom

Serious Problem ... (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about a year ago | (#46053649)

There are about 5600 active satellites orbiting out there, and far more debris.

And satellites do collide ... One example: http://www.universetoday.com/2... [universetoday.com]

There always has been the issue of how much orbiting space junk will finally start causing serious problems for space flight and the flight paths of other satellites, I think this issue has been a concern for so long that Carl Sagan was worrying about it (and it'll be 20 years since his death this year).

pffft (1)

drunk_punk (2841507) | about a year ago | (#46053719)

With all the New tech concerning self guided this and that, is this really even a market? This really seems like spacex and google had a kid, and you wanted to pick a fight with him. Or her. But probably him.

very nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46054433)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1_ZAS0yutY&list=TLHMWMgiKfQFTR7ONGCppuJhWjz8ud2eJz

DARPA has been working on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46054631)

The US DARPA has been figuring out how to do this kind of analysis on encrypted trajectories:

http://news.discovery.com/space/spy-tech-keeps-satellites-from-bumping-130411.htm

The cart before the horse? (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about a year ago | (#46055259)

This is like putting up traffic lights before you have more than two cars.

This is all about satellites and debris -- so what about the equivalent of "street sweepers" for the sky? I could imagine that it's easier to target all the working satellites and occasionally just blast the equivalent of a shotgun around them of pellets made from water ice. Destabilize the orbit of all the debris and it will clean up quicker.

Other than a few satellites that might collide -- most of the debris or low sophistication satellites can't move, right? So you are doing traffic control and the best you can do is; "Collision immanent in 3 more orbits". Kind of like our Asteroid protection, or anything to do with serious existential threats like Global Warming.

We'll spend a few trillion more on Ter'rism and Drug War that does nothing but buy flack jackets for people who are inevitably corrupted. We've got the DEA running protection rackets for major drug lords while they bust the competition. We've got contractors selling off all that "just the meta data" which somehow requires a building larger than the Pentagon and they have to invent words larger than Petabyte for storage.

There are no adults looking out for us -- just using that as an excuse. And is crazy that we are going to build a system that will ONLY protect the satellites that can move and has no other purpose than to shift company profits to taxpayer expenses. You think I'll get a discount from AT&T because Uncle Sam saved their cell phone bounce point?

Simple solution (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year ago | (#46057727)

Just limit space travel to Google Self-Driving Spaceships.
WCPGW, YMMV, etc.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?