Europe Signs $102M Deal to Bring Space Trash Home

28 Novembre, 2020, 01:28 | Auteur: Therese Cote
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That service is using a claw to capture space debris and send it to a fiery doom. "This new mission, implemented by an ESA project team, will allow us to demonstrate these technologies, achieving a world first in the process". This spacecraft will rendezvous with, then capture and bring down, a Vespa payload adapter.

To complete the mission, a custom-made spacecraft will fetch and bring down a portion of a Vespa payload adapter. That is, it will, if left alone, eventually fall into the Earth's atmosphere and burn up.

With a mass of 112 kg, the Vespa target is close in size to a small satellite. ClearSpace is a Swiss startup that provides in-orbit servicing and space debris removal and was selected by ESA in 2019 for this mission.

In nearly 60 years of space activities, more than 5,550 launches have resulted in some 42,000 tracked objects in orbit, of which about 23,000 remain in space and are regularly tracked, ESA said. Most are debris or dead spacecraft. It will only continue to build as the commercial space industry grows and more rockets are launched to orbit and deep space. The need to ensure the future sustainability of spaceflight requires that action be taken.

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The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a contract to purchase a service.

ESA said it is purchasing the initial mission and contributing key expertise, as part of the Active Debris Removal/ In-Orbit Servicing project (ADRIOS) within ESA's Space Safety Programme.

ClearSpace is a company spun-off from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

While the lead for the industrial team lies with ClearSpace SA, contributions come from enterprises in Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Poland, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Romania, ESA said.

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