Childhood Dreams Of Space Realized! Space Junk Problem Solved!

Mitsunobu Okada is a former government official and internet entrepreneur who has revived his childhood passion of space by founding a new company, Astroscale. He went to United States Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville as a teen in 1987, and even chose to attend business school at Purdue University, the alma mater of his hero, Neil Armstrong.


(Vacuum test of Astroscale’s IDEA OSG 1)

Mitsunobu Okada, aspires to be more than an ordinary garbageman. Schoolroom pictures of the planets decorate the door to the meeting room. Satellite mock-ups occupy a corner. Mr. Okada greets guests in a dark blue T-shirt emblazoned with his company’s slogan: Space Sweepers.

Mr. Okada is an entrepreneur with a vision of creating the first trash collection company dedicated to cleaning up some of humanity’s hardest-to-reach rubbish: the spent rocket stages, inert satellites and other debris that have been collecting above Earth since Sputnik ushered in the space age. He launched Astroscale three years ago in the belief that national space agencies were dragging their feet in facing the problem, which could be tackled more quickly by a small private company motivated by profit.

“Let’s face it, waste management isn’t sexy enough for a space agency to convince taxpayers to allocate money,” said Mr. Okada, 43, who put Astroscale’s headquarters in start-up-friendly Singapore but is building its spacecraft in his native Japan, where he found more engineers. “My breakthrough is figuring out how to make this into a business.”

I wonder if Mr. Okada is familiar with Planetes, an anime series published by Makoto Yakimura in Japan starting in 1999. The series follows a team of debris cleaners who clear space junk from flight paths.


Planetes cover art

As far as I know, the earliest sf treatment of the idea of orbital debris clearance is in the 1978 novel The Fountains of Paradise; Arthur C. Clarke uses Operation Cleanup to make sure that low earth orbit is clear of space junk for the newly constructed space elevator.

Is it possible to found a business on space junk? Mr. Okado is not the first - read about Making A Living From Space Junk, which describes space junk businesses in Russia.

Via NYTimes.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/18/2016)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

NASA Competition To Design A Bucket Drum For Moon Mining
'There was a heap of discarded ore where Grantline had carted and dumped it...' - Ray Cummings, 1930.

Are You Ready For Commercial Space Travel?
'It wasn't a pleasant trip; it was a miserable trip on a miserable, undersized tourist rocket...' - Pohl/Kornbluth, 1952.

NASA's Electric Motor Scooter
'...all the [lunar] prospectors took bicycles along as a matter of course'

Extremophile Microbe Loves Space Rocks
'... designed for rooting in the metal make-up of the asteroids for vital elements.' - F.E. Hardart, 1941.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Trash Sorting AI Robot Presages Skynet, Thanks A Lot
Keep your head down, Kyle Reese.

Electric Unicycle Is A Tumblebug
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity, since it is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'

Another Soil Bacterium Eats Plastic
'...the plastic was dissolved before his eyes.'

reLive Memorial Come Back As A Tree
'It was time - time to go again. She touched the leaf. She was wanted.'

Engineered Living Building Materials
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

Draw Circuits With Conductive Ink
'It's rewiring things... squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon along the printed circuitry.'

Arkangel: Automatic Visual Censoring
It's whatever the Party says it is, Winston.

NASA Competition To Design A Bucket Drum For Moon Mining
'There was a heap of discarded ore where Grantline had carted and dumped it...'

Medical Assistant Robot May Roam The Halls Of Hospitals
'Take care, sir.'

No Autonomous Trucks? Wait, What?
'...it resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'

As Big As A Biltong - World's Largest 3D Printer
'Huge and old, it squatted in the center of the settlement park... On the concrete platform... lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'

Drones Used To Smuggle Contraband Into Prison
'And some mega chip inside so it never runs into anything and no cop ever sees it.'

Are You Ready For Commercial Space Travel?
'It wasn't a pleasant trip; it was a miserable trip on a miserable, undersized tourist rocket...'

Amplified Nerves Lead To Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Hands
'The electrical impulses generated by your brain command everything...'

FlyCroTug Micro Drones Do Heavy Lifting
'It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock on...'

Virtual Whitney Houston In Concert
Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.