A Giant Claw Is Heading Into Orbit to Clean Up Space Junk
The European Space Agency plans to put a massive claw into orbit to clear space debris and divert any debris back into the earth’s atmosphere, where it would be burned. The agency has officially signed a contract with the Swiss start-up ClearSpace SA to launch the first active debris removal mission known as ClearSpace-1. The goal is to send a claw into space by 2025 to “hit, capture, and re-enter” a VESPA payload adapter left in orbit after the second flight. Vega in 2013. The VESPA has has a mass of 112 kg and, according to ESA, is almost the size of a small satellite.
“In almost 60 years of space activities, more than 5,550 launches have resulted in around 42,000 tracked objects in orbit, of which around 23,000 remain in space and are regularly tracked,” said ESA in its announcement of the mission.
“With today’s annual launch rates averaging nearly 100 and separations continuing to occur with average historical rates of four to five per year, the number of debris in space will steadily increase. ClearSpace-1 will demonstrate the technical and commercial capability, long-term sustainability to improve space travel significantly. “
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ESA signed a EUR 86 million contract to purchase the service, which could remove further waste in the future.
For more scientific studies and real-world developments, check out this study of how the brain processes visual communication in movies. Read about the scientists who discovered a strange radio signal from space, and find out about the 139 new planets that astronomers have discovered at the edge of our solar system.
Adele Ankers is a freelance entertainment journalist. You can reach them on Twitter.