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Astroscale successfully demonstrated that its space debris collection satellite can clean up orbital debris – Technology News, Firstpost

On August 25, the Japan- and UK-based aerospace company Astroscale achieved a major milestone: its space debris removal demonstration satellite successfully used a magnetic system to capture and release a client spacecraft.

Space debris, or unused man-made debris rotating in Earth’s orbit, poses a risk of collision with other satellites.

Elsa-d ESA says there are approximately 9,200 tons of debris in orbit. Image: Astroscale / PA

Astroscale End of Life Services Demonstration (ELSA-d) mission It was launched in March this year with the aim of being the world’s first commercial mission for the demonstration of the space debris removal system. Launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the satellite consisted of a 175 kg service spacecraft and a 17 kg client satellite.

The ELSA-d mission included two separate spacecraft: a “client” posing as space debris and a “manager” designed to remove such debris.

The demo was proof that the administrator can successfully capture and free other spacecraft, according to a statement from Astroscale. The company explained that the main challenge of space debris removal (docking or capturing a customer object) can be managed by the administrator.

But the mission is not yet complete. ELSA-d must retry the catch-and-release process three more times successfully before Astroscale can consider mission accomplished.

The administrator must capture and release the provider from a greater distance for the second attempt. After that, the process will replicate with the provider simulating an uncontrolled wobbling object. The final demonstration will be a “customer search and diagnostics,” in which the manager will inspect the supplier from a close distance, zoom out, and then recapture them.

Astroscale is one of several companies working in the space debris problem. NASA has estimated that more than 27,000 pieces of debris float in Earth’s orbit according to the Department of Defense’s global Space Surveillance Network. The number is expected to grow as a spacecraft launch becomes less expensive.

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