Resilience Smart Cities

Elon Musk says his Starship can ‘chomp up’ space junk

Story at a glance

  • The space around Earth is becoming increasingly crowded with satellites, used rocket parts and other materials left behind by humans.
  • On Saturday, one Twitter user asked Musk if SpaceX had considered a way to eventually collect space debris, “since it could directly affect its business in the future if it gets out of control.”
  • “Yes, we can fly Starship around space & chomp up debris with the moving fairing door,” Musk tweeted in response.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the private rocket company’s Starship rocket system could be used to collect space junk orbiting the Earth. 

The space around Earth is becoming increasingly crowded with satellites, used rocket parts and other materials left behind by humans. More than 27,000 pieces of space junk are currently being tracked by the Department of Defense’s global Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensors to avoid collisions, according to NASA. 


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

THERE’S NO LIFE ON VENUS, SAYS NEW STUDY, BUT JUPITER MIGHT BE ANOTHER STORY

NASA’S MARS HELICOPTER LANDS IN PLACE IT HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE

AMAZING NEW PHOTOS SHOW EXTREMELY RARE CLOUDS DRIFTING OVER MARS

SPACE FLIGHT WITH JEFF BEZOS TO BE AUCTIONED OFF ON SATURDAY

AMAZON BILLIONAIRE JEFF BEZOS WILL FLY INTO SPACE IN JULY


The amount of debris is only expected to grow as more companies are sending spacecraft and satellites into orbit, including SpaceX’s network of more than 1,600 Starlink satellites. SpaceX is aiming to put up a constellation of 42,000 satellites by 2027. 

On Saturday, one Twitter user asked Musk if SpaceX had considered any way to eventually collect space debris, “since it could directly affect its business in the future if it gets out of control.” 

“Yes, we can fly Starship around space & chomp up debris with the moving fairing door,” Musk tweeted in response

According to SpaceX, the Starship’s fairing door opens when it reaches a certain orbit to deploy a payload and closes before returning to Earth. 

Musk did not elaborate on how the process would work. 


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


Last year, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell told Time Magazine Starship could possibly store space junk in its cargo bay until returning to Earth. 

SpaceX has launched several Starship prototypes and successfully carried out controlled landings earlier this year. The success marks a milestone in improving the development of reusable spacecraft to carry crew and cargo on interplanetary flights. 

The company is developing the spacecraft to send humans to the moon and Mars. SpaceX is aiming to launch Starship into Earth’s orbit for the first time next month. 


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

IVY LEAGUE SCIENTIST SAYS NASA MAY HAVE ACCIDENTALLY SPREAD LIFE TO MARS

FALSE ALARM: NO SPACE JUNK THREAT TO SPACEX LAUNCH

NASA’S HELICOPTER SENDS FIRST AERIAL PHOTOS OF THE SURFACE OF MARS

ELON MUSK’S SPACEX LAUNCHES NASA CREW-2 INTO ORBIT

FOR ITS NEXT TRICK, NASA’S HELICOPTER FLEW SIDEWAYS ON MARS