7. Space Junk

Satellite owners should be required to remove their litter from space when it is no longer used. The owners of retired satellites and the generators of other space debris of any size larger than 1 centimeter (unless the debris was generated by accident) should be charged a space litter penalty based on the threat that such space junk may have on active space operations (which is a function of the debris’ orbital altitude and other orbital characteristics, size, and tracking difficulty). Generally, the minimum fee should be $1,000 per piece of debris. Such space litter fees should be charged quarterly starting with the quarter beginning after the one-year anniversary date of the object’s classification as litter.

Governments (overseen by an accepted international authority) should build a high-powered, pulsed laser debris ablation system that would consist of a series of high-altitude, ground-based laser facilities around the globe, including perhaps also space-based laser satellites. In conjunction with the financial penalty schedule stated above, all space debris would be consistently maintained to low enough levels to ensure an reliably minimum degree of risk to space operations.

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