Broadcast 3714 Alfred Anzaldua

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Guest:  Alfred (Al) Anzaldua; Topics: Space Orbital Debris, remediation vs. mitigation, The Space Salvage Entity, funding challenges, private sector initiatives, "Pay Now or Pay More Later" plus additional topics.

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We welcomed Al Anzaldua to the program to discuss orbiting space debris, mostly in LEO but some in GEO, and what we can do about it.  Al has written several articles on the subject so check them out on our blog.  Note that he marked a few of them for your priority attention.  Our 90 minute program started out with Al defining space debris down to orbital debris which is what he talked about today.  Note that almost all of our discussion focused on LEO but GEO did get important attention later in our discussion.  In addition, Al quickly marked a distinction between mitigation and remediation.  He said our discussion today would center on remediation.

During our discussion, Al referenced two previous Space Show interviews multiple times. One was the recent discussion with Wayne White and his Space Pioneer Act.  The other program mentioned was with Dr. Akhil Rau.  He also mentioned the interview with Ms. Shotwell of SpaceX at ISDC where she hinted that Starship might get involved in debris cleanup.  Al read us the full quote by Gwynne who was interviewed by our friend Rod Pyle.  Al was excited about the potential of the private sector led by SpaceX getting involved in the cleanup process which he thought would result in finally seeing action on the problem started. 

Our guest introduced us to space salvage and one proposal, The Space Salvage Entity, which he discussed in detail.  Listen to what he said the early goal should be of the Entity re removing "big stuff" in orbit as he put it.  Todd sent in a related email asking about liability issues.  This led our guest to suggest bottom up multi-lateral agreements over treaties.  As an ex-diplomat and State Dept. representative, he said he spoke from experience as to why treaties would not be good plus he told us why he thought treaties would not be viable.  From here we went to China.  While our guest said we needed to be leery of China, he was clear that we should not ignore them.  Listen to how he suggested balancing our relationship with China and Chinese behavior in space and here on Earth. 

Marshall was our first and only caller.  He wanted to know what nations had actually identified orbital debris as trash that could be collected, so to speak.  Marshall and Al had a great discussion about liability, space garbage or trash as Marshall referred to it, issues with the Moon Treaty, more treaty concerns and the need for enabling regulations, not punitive regulations.  He said if The Space Salvage Entity were in play, it would have the power to make these determinations and adjudicate liability claims.  Make sure you hear the full conversation.

Listener Jane from Denver asked Al if he had a start date or time line for the commencing of real action on debris removal to finally kickoff and start doing it.  Unfortunately, no such starting date was available but our guest was optimistic now that SpaceX might make things happen faster.  Al then talked about the FAA AST, the space office in the Dept. of State, and a few other government agencies.  We talked about advanced technologies, our guest mentioned Joe Carrol and Jerome Pearson for their work with the Electrodynamic Debris Eliminator. 

Al switched topics to funding.  One idea he suggested was a two cent fee (tax) on various bills decided by service providers so that we all help pay for these services which are badly needed. Listen to his description of this two cent fee.  He also talked about the Space Protection and Indemnity Club (P&I Clubs) and described them for us.  Listen to how he said they would work.  Listener Charlotte sent in a note asking if Al has testified before congress on these issues.  Another question focused on the NSC dealing with orbital debris. Here our guest talked about SPD-3 as an indirect approach to the problem.  As we were nearing the end of the program, the voluntary mitigation rules came up.  Al thought we needed something other than voluntary. He also said the 25 year deorbit rule was a bad one as it was too long.  As we were drawing to a close, I asked about an Action Plan and what he suggested Space Show listeners do to help make orbital debris remediation viable and possible.  He suggested reaching out to the NSS Policy Committee and offered to facilitate that contact.  Listen to what he said about contacting him for that assistance.  In summary, he offered us the following: "PAY NO OR PAY MORE LATER!"

Please post your comments/questions for our guest on this blog.  You can reach Al though me.

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Space Debris, suggested solutions, risk analysis

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29 Jun 2021 Alfred Anzaldua
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