Europe launches design work for space junk removal project – Science & Space

MOSCOW, October 28th. / TASS /. System design work for Clearspace-1, a mission to remove space debris from orbit, began this summer in Europe, European Space Agency (ESA) Moscow office head Rene Pischel told TASS.

“Technical work on the project began in July 2020 with joint meetings between ESA and ClearSpace technical specialists, designing systems, working on the flight segment, etc.,” he said.

A private consortium led by ClearSpace SA, a subsidiary of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), won the tender for the design of the spacecraft. The consortium also includes Airbus, OHB, Deimos, APCO, RUAG and other companies.

The signing of the development contract is planned for November 2020. The ceremony was due to take place this summer but has been postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The text of the document was approved in November 2019 at a ministerial meeting of the project donor countries.

The Clearspace project aims to remove inactive satellites and other large pieces of space debris that, if disintegrated, can create thousands of tiny shards. The mission’s first target is Vespa (Vega Secondary Payload Adapter), the upper stage that will remain in orbit after the ESA’s Vega carrier made its second flight in 2013. It is now approximately 660-800 km above the ground.

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