RemoveDebris Satellite Has Been Deployed From ISS

Posted: Jun 23 2018, 12:49pm CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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RemoveDebris Satellite has been Deployed from ISS
Credit: Surrey Satellite Technology

The satellite will test a range of innovative technologies to clean up space debris

A UK-based satellite is set to remove tons of space debris orbiting around Earth. On Wednesday, the new garbage-collecting satellite RemoveDebris has been pushed out of International Space Station. The satellite will release net and harpoon to see if these techniques works properly in the weightless conditions and manage to clear debris in space.

More than 7,000 tons of space junk is believed to be orbiting around our planet. It includes used rockets, defunct satellites and pieces from collisions over the past 50 years of space exploration. With debris traveling at thousands of miles per hour, even small fragments could lead to catastrophe collisions with manned or unmanned spacecraft and destroy hugely expensive technology. The RemoveDebris mission led by the Surrey Space Center is designed to test a range of innovative techniques to solve this ever-growing problem.

“The experiment is important as there are thousands of pieces of space debris circulating the planet, many traveling faster than a speeding bullet, posing a risk to valuable satellites and even the International Space Station itself.” UK Space Agency spokesperson said.

RemoveDebris satellite weighs almost 200 pounds which makes it the largest payload ever deployed from the space station. The satellite was launched into space via a Falcon 9 rocket back in April and is expected to perform a total of four experiments during its stay at ISS. Besides net and harpoon, the satellite will also test a vision-based navigation system and a large drag sail.

"The mission timelines will see the net deployed in October this year, followed by the VBN test in late December and then the harpoon in February 2019. The experiments will all be carried out below the orbit of the ISS." The designer of three of the four mission technologies Airbus said in a statement.

The RemoveDEBRIS team believes that if we don’t get rid of space junk now, it could cause major problems in the future. Space will have so much debris within a decade that it would become too dangerous to leave the Earth's atmosphere.

“We have spent many years developing innovative active debris removal systems to be at the forefront of tackling this growing problem of space debris and to contribute to the UNs’ Sustainable Development Goals for our future generations," said Nicolas Chamussy, Head of Airbus Space Systems. "We will continue to work closely with teams across the world to make our expertise available to help solve this issue.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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