Sep 7, 2021

ELSA-d spacecraft captures “space debris” in orbit for the first time

Posted by in category: satellites

Private orbital debris removal company Astroscale has validated its magnetic capture system that is designed to tackle the problem of space debris. Its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) servicer satellite managed to capture a simulated piece of space debris in orbit for the first time using the system.

Space debris is a serious and growing problem as popular orbits around the Earth become increasingly cluttered with defunct satellites, boosters, and other flotsam that present the hazard of an increased probability of a bit of debris striking a working spacecraft at hypersonic speeds.

In recent years, there have been a number of proposals put forward to deal with this, including devices installed on satellites to increase atmospheric drag as well as experimental capture devices. In general, the most promising technology has involved end-of-life systems installed in new spacecraft, or spacecraft that can rendezvous with aging satellites still capable of maintaining attitude to deorbit them.

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