Space Junk Mission Prepares for Launch – clean-up tens of thousand of pieces floating debris on verge of causing massive damage
A mission that will test different methods to clean up space junk is getting ready for launch.
The RemoveDebris spacecraft will attempt to snare a small satellite with a net. Also test whether a harpoon is an effective garbage grabber.
The probe has been assembled in Surrey and will soon be packed up ready for blast off early next year.
Scientists warn that the growing problem of space debris is putting spacecraft and astronauts at risk.
It is estimated that there are about half a million pieces of man-made rubbish orbiting the Earth, ranging from huge defunct satellites, to spent rocket boosters and nuts and bolts.
Any collisions can cause a great deal of damage, and generate even more pieces of debris.
The RemoveDebris mission is led by the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey.
The assembly of the spacecraft, which is about the size of a washing machine, has taken place at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) and is almost complete.
Dr Jason Forshaw, project manager on the RemoveDebris team, said: “RemoveDebris will be one of the world’s first missions in this area…. We have technologies on here that have never been demonstrated in space before.”