Recovering Iridiums?

James Nix (
Sun, 23 May 1999 19:26:05 +0000


Recently, I queried the Iridium website about repairing the tumblers with say an
STS like mission.  The response was that something like STS could not do it
because the Irids were far too high to reach.  I suspect the real reason to be
an issue of use of taxpayer dollars for repairing private/commercial ventures
property.  A reviewing of orbital parameters HST vs the ten Iridium tumblers
HST derived perigee is at 592 km,  three Irid tumblers are at lower perigees,
(27 48 79)
the others range from 25 to 185 km higher.  I don't see the response from
Iridium as valid.

I suspect that Iridium/Motorola corps do not want anyone to get ideas about
their very expensive birds, understandable.  I suppose there are some technology 
issues here with regard to national security and proprietary possesion as well.
I imagine another consideration is that taxpayers would scream bloody murder if
STS were used to repair a private/commercial object.  


1.	Is there a privatly funded venture to salvage orbital debris extant. (I
suspect 	they would keep quiet if there was one).

2. 	Are there any salvage laws on the books regarding space debris?

3.	Is STS a taxpayer funded project.

Any responses, off list, would be appreciated.

Jim Nix