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Space Junk

— Space

EPFL's CleanSpace One satellite will "eat" space junk

By - July 7, 2015 4 Pictures

Three years ago, Swiss research institute EPFL announced its plans to build a spacecraft that could grab orbital debris and then carry it back towards Earth, burning up in the atmosphere with it on its way down. Called CleanSpace One, the satellite was depicted at the time as using a claw-like grasping tool. Now, however, EPFL has announced that it will utilize a folding conical net to essentially gobble up bits of space garbage.

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— Space

Germany to tackle space junk with GESTRA project

By - July 6, 2015 1 Picture

Scientists estimate there are 20,000 particles of space junk measuring up at over 10 cm in diameter currently hurtling around the earth at an average velocity of 25,000 km/h, threatening to damage or destroy orbiting satellites. To combat the problem, the German Government has granted the German Aerospace Center (DLR) €25 million to create a system to track space junk as it orbits the earth and the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) has been tasked with creating the new system's radar component.

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— Space

ESA's mission to de-clutter low-Earth orbit takes a step forward

By - June 5, 2015 1 Picture

ESA's mission to mitigate the environmental impacts on low-Earth orbit from mankind's relentless march into space has entered a new phase, ahead of its make-or-break review before the ESA's Council of Ministers in December 2016. The e.Deorbit program would launch multiple debris-seeking probes into orbit each year, tasked with the removal of defunct satellites and other potentially hazardous man-made objects from low-Earth orbit.

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— Space

ESA tests the potential of grabbing derelict satellites using a simple net

By - March 30, 2015 2 Pictures
The ESA has been testing the possibility of using one of mankind's earliest inventions to cope with one of its newest challenges, by testing a concept that would allow satellites to net and de-orbit space debris in a safe and controlled manner. Space debris is an ever-increasing problem, and agencies around the world are starting to take steps to preserve the low-Earth orbit environment vital for a sustainable space industry. Read More
— Space

Construction begins on Space Fence radar system

By - March 24, 2015 3 Pictures
Ground was broken at the future six-acre (2.4-hectare) site of the new Space Fence radar system in a special ceremony last month on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The ceremony marked the official start of construction of the system that will replace the Air Force Space Surveillance System (AFSSS) in tracking objects in orbit, including commercial and military satellites and debris from collisions. Read More
— Space

ESA to host workshop aimed at cleaning up low-Earth orbit

By - January 19, 2015 1 Picture
Key orbits frequented by GPS and communications satellites are becoming more and more hazardous, as man-made debris presents an increasingly palpable danger to the valuable assets orbiting at heights of around 2,000 km (1,243 miles) above the Earth. That' s why the European Space Agency (ESA) is hosting an international workshop geared towards cleaning up low-Earth orbit, with a focus on how to make the space industry more sustainable. Read More
— Space

DARPA ready to deliver telescope to watch the skies for space debris

By - December 11, 2013 5 Pictures
In order to dodge something, you need to see it. If that something is space debris then sometimes the best thing to use is an old-fashioned telescope – or, in the case of the US Department of Defense, a state-of-the-art telescope capable of searching an area larger than the United States in seconds. That’s why DARPA is preparing to deliver the new Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) to Western Australia, where it will help track small satellites and space debris orbiting the Earth when it becomes operational in 2016. Read More
— Space

Rubbish removal satellite to be launched from an A300 jetliner

By - September 16, 2013 8 Pictures
Back in the 1970s, there was a short-lived sitcom called Quark about an outer space rubbish collector. What was played for laughs back then may soon be a reality with the announcement that Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Swiss Space Systems (S3) have formed a partnership to launch the CleanSpace One satellite into orbit to collect space debris using a launch system that promises to be cheaper than using conventional techniques. Read More
— Space

We nearly lost Fermi: The problem of orbital debris

By - May 2, 2013 7 Pictures
Julie McEnery is NASA's Project Scientist for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. When she checked her email on March 29, 2012, she was startled to find an automatically generated message stating that in six days, her half-billion-plus dollar satellite was going to cross paths with Cosmos 1805, a Soviet-era spy satellite. The predicted encounter had the two satellites occupying the same coordinates only 30 milliseconds apart. Not only that, but Cosmos was in an orbit moving nearly perpendicular to Fermi such that their collision would be equivalent to tons of high explosives. Essentially total destruction. Read More
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