Tech & Science A garbage truck in space: the European Space Agency launches a first mission to collect debris in orbit

17:20  01 december  2020
17:20  01 december  2020 Source:   francetvinfo.fr

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Robotic junk collector will be first mission to remove item of debris from orbit .

Collecting Garbage in Space . Space And Intelligence. The first recorded fragmentation is dated back in 1961, when the US Ablestar upper stage exploded in an orbit of about 900 km releasing nearly 300 large fragments and increasing the total orbital debris population by 400%.

The objective is to destroy a piece of an old rocket weighing more than 100 kg. This "space garbage truck" is to be launched in 2025.

  Un camion-poubelle dans l'espace : l'Agence spatiale européenne lance une première mission de ramassage de débris en orbite © Provided by Franceinfo

Clean the sky of its space debris, this is the objective of the Adrios mission of ESA, the European Space Agency , who has just officially signed for a first unprecedented operation: to pick up and destroy a piece of rocket that has been spinning above our heads since 2013. The project is called ClearSpace. A small Swiss company is responsible for building this space garbage truck. It will be launched, if all goes well, in 2025.

23,000 debris listed

It is in fact a machine the size of a satellite, with four arms, four tentacles which will have to catch the targeted debris, a piece weighing more than 100 kg, from an old European Vega rocket. This pickup, if successful, will be a first. "With its four tentacles, our little satellite will encircle the debris before it hits it," explains Luisa Innocenti, ClearSpace project manager at ESA, "because objects float in space, and if you touch them, they s' go away. "

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The European Space Agency (ESA; French: Agence spatiale européenne pronunciation , ASE; German: Europäische Weltraumorganisation)

The first ever space mission to remove man-made debris from Earth’s orbit is due to launch in 2025 as part of an initiative that could herald the Swiss startup Clearspace was selected for the mission by the European Space Agency following a competitive tender, ESA said on its website Monday.

"It is very important during the mission to surround the debris and then close the tentacles. Then both will destroy each other. They will burn when entering the atmosphere."

Luisa Innocenti, ClearSpace

project manager at franceinfo

Today more than 23,000 pieces of debris of all sizes are listed and monitored in space, according to ESA. In September, the International Space Station had to change its position for the third time this year, to avoid a collision with one of these pieces wandering around our planet.

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