Astroscale prepares its ELSA space junk tracker for launch

Luxembourg, January 22, 2021. – Astroscale’s ELSA-d spacecraft is ready for a Soyuz rocket launch in March from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Tokyo-based space start-up announced.

The End-of-Life Service by Astroscale (ELSA) program is a spacecraft on-demand service for satellite operators. Astroscale says ELSA-d – d stands for demonstration – is the first mission to demonstrate the core technologies required for docking and removing debris.

The ELSA-d mission is “the first to demonstrate the core technologies required for docking and removing space debris. This is an important step in expanding on-orbit services and realizing Astroscale’s vision of safe and sustainable space for the benefit of future generations, “the company said.

ELSA-d consists of two spacecraft, a servicer weighing around 175 kilograms and a customer weighing 17 kilograms. They are started stacked. According to Astroscale, the servicer is equipped with proximity rendezvous technologies and a magnetic docking mechanism, while the customer has a ferromagnetic plate that enables docking. The servicer will repeatedly release and dock with the customer in a series of technical demonstrations that demonstrate the ability to locate and dock foreign objects.

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