Science

This enlarged satellite could be the key to removing space waste

Japanese space solutions company Astroscale has launched the first commercial mission to remove debris from our atmosphere. Spoiler: Includes giant magnets.

It looks like we’ve finally found a workable solution to make an impact on the space garbage storm currently orbiting Earth – although it might seem like a child succumbing to Blue Peter.

The world’s first commercial clean-up mission to remove space debris, developed by Japanese-British space solutions company, Astroscale, includes a standalone satellite with massive magnets.

Described as “end of life service,” ELSA-d is a large 400-pound satellite with state-of-the-art sensors and a magnetic docking board. Traveling along three busy orbital corridors between 500 kilometers and 550 kilometers above Earth, he will soon search for discarded devices from previous missions.

Once the garbage is located, the magnetic plate will pick up individual objects and pull them into lower orbit where they will eventually return to Earth’s atmosphere and burn. Sounds pretty good in principle, right?

He successfully shot into orbit during the Weekend From the Baikonur Cosmodrome base in Kazakhstan, a UK operations team is now assigned to oversee the ELSA-d testing phase before the autonomous unit is put to work on a massive cleanup mission.

Accompanied when fired by a piece of test scrap weighing about 40 pounds, operators are now experimenting with ELSA-d’s ability to grab the doll safely in many different situations – the most challenging object during a “ flip, ” which means a rolling motion or a wheel. .



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