The European Space Agency (ESA) has identified technology for active space debris removal (ADR) as a strategic goal and is struggling with producing projects that prevent collisions of satellites with this debris.
Since 2018, the project led by the University of Surrey (United Kingdom) and its Space Center, with a consortium of companies from several countries (including Airbus), is known as RemoveDEBRIS, consisting of a satellite along with two cubesats (the other two smaller ones), has used ADR technology.
It is based on the very important residue active removal (ADR or Active Debris Removal) to prevent the uncontrolled growth of space debris. However, this will not be necessary if any of the items thrown meet post-mission disposal guidelines.
The system used in the project RemoveDEBRIS and it using ADR technology, followed by waste disposal thanks to the harpoon and net along with the navigation system (VBN). Spears are fired at a speed of 20 meters per second to penetrate the target and catch debris, such as nets.
The European Space Agency states that it performs, on average, two satellite garbage disposal maneuvers in Earth orbit per year, and the number continues to grow.
However, even though thousands of objects are tracked around the Earth, millions of smaller items remain undetected and, since UK relies on satellite For services that support the country’s infrastructure such as navigation or telecommunications, cleaning up space junk is indispensable to avoid bigger crimes.
“We have significant experience gained from over 500 years of operational satellites and, together with our work on ADR demonstration missions, we are promoting new concepts and technologies capable of delivering a dual mission Active Waste Disposal for the UK. ” , said SSTL CEO Phil Brownnett.
And that is, Recent Russian anti-satellite missile tests has raised the topic of space junk. All this is due to the fact that the launch caused a debris cloud at an altitude of about 500 km above Earth.
Nowadays, Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) leads a consortium of British companies within the framework of the European Space Agency’s “Leopard” project to remove dangerous space debris. The company has several satellites that are no longer useful and can be selected as targets for ADR missions.