What are safety concerns in space for energy?

Question: What are safety concerns in space for energy?

Answer: The safety concerns in space for energy vary by a wide margin depending on the particular use of a given energy source and what that energy source is. For example, some satellites using solar power don’t have any other source of energy. Their orbit was set and they no longer have a fuel source to change orbit so the only real safety concern relates to tracking the orbit that was set earlier to understand when and where that satellite will fall out of orbit and back to Earth.

Other space crafts such as the shuttle maintain large amounts of fuels and oxidizers which are combined in a combustion chamber to provide thrust. Safety concerns in this situation are maintaining the integrity of the fuel tanks and system by making them robust enough to withstand the intense cold, vacuum, and bombardment with cosmic rays. Depending on the properties of the fuel type additional considerations must be made. For example, some fuels must be kept within certain temperature ranges and others are corrosive and require specialized fuel systems that won’t be damaged.

The International Space Station, Shuttle, and other crafts also make heavy use of solar arrays to power electronics that are critical to their operation. These must be carefully monitored for damage from cosmic rays or other debris in addition to considerable amounts of shielding (in addition to the entire craft) to protect from proton showers caused by solar flares from the Sun.

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