Space waste orbiting the Earth is becoming a more and more important problem as more satellites are put into orbit. The popular orbits became very congested, and many of the spacecraft orbiting there were turned off and inoperative. However, it is impossible to take satellites out of orbit using current technology in most cases.
a company Astroscale is set to run a demonstration mission to test new technology developed to clean up space debris. The mission was to be launched in the early hours of yesterday morning from the Baikonur space base in Kazakhstan. The test mission was propelled into orbit with a Soyuz 2 rocket. The payload includes a 175 kg spacecraft with the satellite. The satellite itself weighs 17 kilograms, and once it enters orbit, it will separate from the spacecraft.
Over the next several months, the spacecraft will track the satellite, and Astroscale will test its ability to capture the satellite and deliver it to Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up on its return. The spacecraft will be tested in a series of different maneuvers, and the mission is expected to end in September or October 2021.
The company intends to test the ability of the spacecraft to catch up with and dock with a satellite as it descends into space at speeds of up to 17,500 miles per hour. Tests are based on magnetic docking plates that attach to the satellite. Astroscale hopes that all satellites to be built in the future will be fitted with these docking boards so that they can be removed from orbit at the end of their life.
The technology the company is testing targets satellites that have yet to be launched. Unfortunately, there is no solution to the abandoned satellites already in orbit. Companies around the world are currently working on solutions to the ever-increasing number of satellites abandoned in space.