Back in 2012. the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) announced its intentions to design, and launch into space, a satellite to clean up space junk named SpaceCleanOne. They are getting a little help as Swiss Space System (S3) has joined the project.
Everyone knows that there is tons of junk orbiting the earth which present problems for manned space missions as well as satellites. Not only does the existing junk create a potential threat to objects in space, but when space junk crashes into other space junk it creates even more, smaller pieces of space junk (check out Kessler Syndrome for how problematic this could be).
The goal of this satellite is to wander around the earth and when it find some space junk, grab hold of it and toss it into the atmosphere so it burns up. Given the amount of space junk out there, as illustrated in the included image, CleanSpace One may be at its job for a long, long time.
In any event, it good that someone is taking on the challenge of cleaning up all the crap we are leaving out there, and since S3 is kicking in about $16 million (CHF 15 million) to the project, let's hope that it all works out as planned and they can then concentrate on getting more satellites up there to take the trash out.
|Topics||Science, Space, Funding, Space Tech, Satellite|