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Kessler Syndrome

Alp Gürsoy

We are continuously witnessing new products, smart cars, 5g internet and many more new technological developments. But, at the same time, this technological progress, has horrible side effects which we don’t have an idea about. Yes, our topic is Kessler disaster. Do you know that the realization of this theory may cause the economic rout and devastation of technologies on a global scale that make this life easier?

Maybe we are now creating the ‘meteorite’ that destroys the world in fılms! As you know, different systems, such as telecommunication, internet gps, banks or aircraft tracking, communicate and work with satellites. Today, there are more than 2000 military and commercial satellites in the Earth’s orbit. Day by day, a lot of companies launch into the Earth’s orbite new satellites to use various technologies.
According to the current situation, besides satellites around the orbit of the earth, there are 20,000 objects including various splintered and distorted satellites, rocket parts left in the orbit of the earth in different space missions, and small asteroids. And these objects are being monitored by various government agencies and firms.
But in addition to these, it is reported that there are more than half a million objects between 10 and 1 cm, and in fact all these objects can not be fully monitored. It is also reported that there are more than 1 million objects smaller than 1 cm and it is also impossible to follow them. Of course, to avoid the damage of the satellites and space station, as I said, they are trying to follow as much as they can. But with the everincreasing number of satellites, tracking and control are becoming more and more difficult. In short, although everything is followed by a variety of systems, it has a limit and becomes impossible as the number increases. The fact that only one object that they cannot follow up, has the potential to cause a terrible damage and each passing day this risk is growing together with the increasing objects. For example, in the
past, in 2009, an American communication satellite was destroyed by Russian satellite that was not working and both satellites were broken to pieces.
As the result of this collision, hundreds of parts were scattered to everywhere at great speed, and even hazarded the satellites around, also International Space Station with 2 astronauts and 1 cosmonaut in it.
Some of the satellites circulating in the orbit are able to change their trajectory in such cases if they have the ability to move, but if this ability does not exist and trajectory is somehow affected, it will be impossible to avoid these accidents. The collision of these satellites or breaking to pieces due to other collisions or some other reason may cause the breaking down a number of satellites in the orbit around the earth. A catastrophic scenario caused by this situation first took place in 1950s. This scenario, as I have mentioned in the introduction is Kessler Syndrome. According to this scenario, these dangerous parts in the orbit of the earth as the result of collisions may cause damaging of more satellites in the future. It is said that in such case, due to the parts that occur in the orbit of the earth, sending a satellite to space again can last for many years. What do you think happens in such a situation? I will tell you step by step:

First, television and radios will become inoperable. Without the communication satellites and gps in the air, airplanes will be at great risk and fly completely blindly which will definitely lead to crash. Mobile phones will not operate. Banks will stop all accounts and transfers. Payments cannot be made with credit cards. Due to the synchronous shift in data transfer between computers, everything that is managed by computer will be at risk.

Since all connections are directed to terrestrial connection rather than satellite, the system will be unable to handle this density and will be down. There will be problems such as power failure, signaling errors in subways and trains, control of traffic lights, interruptions in the internet and service outage.
In order to prevent this scenario from becoming reality, it is necessary that the audits be more stringent for the satellites to be sent to the Earth’s orbit, and that all countries must have a common agreement on this issue and make common decisions.