Lots of space news planned for 2020!
We all saw the big news of SpaceX’s first successful test of the Dragon Demo-2’s In-Flight Abort Test (IFAT) This means Dragon 2 is human certified! Congrats, Elon, we love the twitter pictures! Very impressed how much survived, it goes to prove the engineering. You can view the video here, via NASA TV.
But do not let that overshadow another successful launch to the Starlink constallation. Now to quote from the wiki :
“As of January 2020, SpaceX has deployed 182 satellites. They plan to deploy 60 more per Falcon 9 launch, with launches as often as every two weeks after late 2019. In total, nearly 12,000 satellites will be deployed by the mid-2020s, with a possible later extension to 42,000.”
Pretty ambitious! I wonder what advancements are needed in shielding before a cubesat is just a bug on the windshield. This is actually something to consider as we travel the asteroid belts, even at cube size, that is a lot of mass to hit your ship. I think metals created from lunar mining would be used to create armor plating for outer planet shipping. A lot of iron out on those asteroids, and its already in a free orbit. On a mars trip the odds of collision are low, but something that holds say, 1000 people, is more of a whale in the ocean, so to speak.
Nonetheless, we are doing human launches in tin cans and we are putting thousands of ‘rocks’ in our own orbital ‘yard’. Lets not let our orbits become a junkyard. Now there are efforts to de-orbit objects, however these cubesats could present a future problem. I imagine some form of swarm technology would be used to create holes for departing spacecraft.