Launch | Range safety and space debris
Space debris is a serious challenge, both for detection and mitigation.
The Breakthrough Starshot system is relatively well-suited for detection. Several laboratory measurements and research papers on this topic have been published over the last few years. A list could be accessed of all orbiting objects bigger than 10cm, which would be used to plan launch campaigns.
However, objects as small as a few centimeters could cause problems. For these objects it is also harder to predict their ephemeris (orbital position at specific times). It would therefore be necessary to develop a catalog of such small objects and ensure that they were not illuminated in such a way as to scatter illumination onto any active vehicle.
Standard approaches to range safety would also be observed: no fly zones and the active failsafe interlock perimeter detection system. The beamer would be shut down if any object were detected approaching the no fly zone.
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