ESA Approves Contractor for Debris Removal Mission from Earth Orbit with Shared Budget €100.2 million.
In addition to 2 thousand active satellites, at present there are more than 34 thousand objects larger than 10 cm in orbit on our planet, formed as a result of the failure of previous devices, their explosion or collision with other objects. This debris poses a serious threat to spaceships and crew members, since the fragments fly at a speed of 28 thousand km / h, in fact, they are shells..
Depending on the distance to the earth’s surface and trajectory, it can take centuries for most of these objects to de-orbit on their own, but not all. Since the modern way of life depends on the stable operation of the space infrastructure, and in the next 3-5 years it is planned to launch entire constellations of network satellites, ESA decided to start collecting and removing garbage.
The first ClearSpace-1 space cleanup mission involves capturing and de-orbiting a cone-shaped object (part of a Vega rocket) 1.8×2 meters and weighing 120 kg using a small robot. The contractor selected startup eSpace, a subsidiary of the Space Center of the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne.
Eight member countries of ESA will contribute 86 million euros to the project budget, while the rest of the funds will be provided by private sponsors. Work is due to start in 2020, and removal of the first site is scheduled for 2025..
Recently The European Space Agency also announced that it will conduct the first mission. by changing the trajectory of the asteroid for development efficient technologies planetary protection.
Space debris – efforts to clean up space
text: Ilya Bauer, photo and video: EPFL / J.Caillet