- Tram Ho
According to estimates of the aerospace agencies, there are about 28,000 satellites operating around the Earth. However, this number is still nothing compared to the amount of ‘space junk’ spinning our planet.
Specifically, up to 3,000 satellites have died (ie stopped working) are still orbiting the Earth. That is not to mention 900,000 debris less than 10 cm in size are ‘dancing’ in orbit, which could cause catastrophe if one or more debris collides with satellites.
This is considered a difficult problem that causes aerospace agencies in the world to find a solution. Most recently, the European Space Agency (ESA) has proposed an extremely unique idea to clean up space junk.
Accordingly, spacecraft shaped like a giant claw will be launched into orbit to ‘clamp’ the deactivated satellites and direct them back into the atmosphere – where the whole satellite and the ‘claw’ will ignite on its own.
The spaceship’s design is reminiscent of giant claws, gripping dormant satellites
It is known that ESA’s original plan took shape in 2019. However, it was not until recently that the agency officially signed a contract with Swiss startup ClearSpace to build and launch the mission of First junk universe, called ClearSpace-1. ESA will spend about 86 million euros for ClearSpace to build equipment to clean up space garbage.
The first target of the ClearSpace-1 mission was the Vespa (Vega Additional Load Adapter) – a missile component left over after the Vega missile was launched in 2013. Currently, this part is in progress. ‘wandering’ in orbit at 400 miles altitude.
The team chose this object because its orbit and composition are well understood, and it has the same weight as a small satellite, about 112kg.
According to the ESA, the ClearSpace-1 mission could start as early as 2025. Of course, given the enormous amount of space junk, we will need a lot of ships like this to clear the orbit of the Earth. If ClearSpace-1 succeeds, ESA could design more efficient claw versions to remove trash.
Source : Genk