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        SPACE TRAVEL
        Be a Space Traffic Controller
        by Staff Writers for Launchspace
        Bethesda MD (SPX) Sep 22, 2020

        Soon to be a very busy place.

        In the not-too-distant future an international regulatory and enforcement agency may be looking for Space Traffic Controllers to fill hundreds of positions for well-trained professionals.

        It is likely that these positions will be located in an international metropolis such as Washington, Paris, London, Hong Kong, Rome or Moscow. Applicants must pass a rigorous training program including many hours in class and in simulators. They will probably be required to have prior training in spacecraft dynamics and orbital mechanics.

        In a fashion similar to that of air traffic controllers, space traffic controllers may not actually control spacecraft movements. Instead, they may oversee assigned segment of the low-earth orbital zone.

        Their main responsibility will be to detect and report possible conjunctions between pairs of operating spacecraft and between spacecraft and debris. Once detected, Conjunction Alerts (CAs) would be sent to the appropriate satellite operators who are then responsible for taking evasive actions.

        Today, most spacecraft are not easily maneuverable or unable to maneuver in response to CAs. However, once Space Traffic Management Regulations are internationally accepted by all space-faring nations, all satellites may be required to carry transponders and a minimum set of devices and software that enable them to safely navigate the very congested orbits above Earth. Furthermore, all satellite operators may be required to receive licensing for approved orbital "slots" from an appropriate international agency.

        Of course, all this assumes that all space-faring nations can agree on a set of Space Traffic Management regulations and enforcement procedures. In addition, the question of how to deal with existing satellites, constellations and debris will have to be addressed. Based on the complexity of the problems and the current geo-political environment, it may be quite some time before Space Traffic Controller openings appear in help-wanted ads.


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        SPACE TRAVEL
        Take Me to Mars
        Bethesda MD (SPX) Aug 07, 2020
        There is no doubt that humans are going to Mars. It is simply a question of how and when. However, there are many fundamental concerns that must be dealt with. Some of these address crew safety, radiation exposure, long travel times, life support on Mars and return options. We already know that low energy methods of transfer can take eight months each way and minimum Mars surface time between return windows is about two years. At a minimum, any Martian trip is going to be a major hassle. Transport ... read more

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