Satellites in geosynchronous orbits (GEO) provide vital information that enhances our everyday life. Strategies for the safe disposal of GEO satellites after the end of their operations have been designed and followed for the past 40 years. The main idea is to use “graveyard” orbits, a few hundred kilometres above the operational regime. However, the continuous deployment of defunct satellites in the graveyard inevitably increases the collision probability in GEO.
In their new work, as part of their investigations for the ReDSHIFT H2020 project, Ioannis Gkolias and Camilla Colombo revisited the dynamically rich geosynchronous regime and looked for alternative ways to exploit it. Eventually, as it is the case with all natural resources available to humankind, the geosynchronous orbital region should also be treated in a sustainable way.