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Recycling in Space

July 31st, 2012 No comments

Orbital space junk surrounding earth.

Recycling isn’t just something people do on planet Earth. Satellites orbiting the Earth are about to be recycled by the Department of Defense.

Old or broken satellites that have been floating in space are going to be repaired and put back into use rather than being replaced by new ones. Here’s how it will work, according to the Boston Globe: Miniature “satlets,” equipped with electronics, software, and propulsion, will ride along on commercial flights into space where a servicing spacecraft will then pick them up satlets and stow them approached an old antenna. The robotic arms of the spacecraft will then be used to attach a satlet and transform a piece of space junk into a working satellite.
“There are a good number of retired spacecraft that are perfectly functioning, but either ran out of fuel or got taken over by [newer] technology,” Seamus Tuohy, director of space systems at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, told the Boston Globe. “Getting a rather large antenna up in orbit is a rather costly thing, so when they’re up there you want to utilize them to their fullest.”
The Defense Department estimates that 140 commercial satellites with salvageable antennas or other equipment sit in a so-called “graveyard orbit” and could be repurposed if the right technology were available.
More than 20 companies and government laboratories are working on the project, which has $44.5 million in funding through fiscal year 2013. If the project is successful, the agency estimates it could provide a way to get satellites into space at a tenth of the cost, with hopes of doing a demonstration in which they turn a defunct satellite into a “new” one in 2015, the Globe reports.
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Ready, aim, recycle!

July 11th, 2012 No comments

A group of gun-rights activists recycled their old weapons in exchange for gift cards under a program that Chicago police created to get guns off the streets.
Members of Guns Save Life took advantage of the program last weekend by trading in 60 guns for more than $6,200 worth of gift cards. The move was criticized because most of the guns were old and useless and weren’t being used to commit crimes, but rather were rusting in the members’ homes. Still, most of the weapons qualified for the program.
The group admitted it was taking advantage of the program but said the gift cards would be used to buy ammo and weapons for a program that educates kids about firearm safety.

Unfortunately, we don’t know if the metal was recycled properly, or simply dumped into a landfill.

The city of Chicago collected 5,500 weapons and handed out a $100 gift card per firearm and a $10 gift card for a BB gun or replica.

The Chicago PD was not amused.

“There’s a ripple effect following every shooting incident that we all feel. We host the gun turn-in event on an annual basis to encourage residents to turn in their guns so that we take firearms off our streets, and it’s unfortunate that this group is abusing a program intended to increase the safety of our communities,” a police spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune.

But, we all know the truth that gun control simply removes guns from the hands of law abiding citizens and does NOTHING to stave off abuses by criminals.

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