Remove Debris is a satellite designed to test low-cost methods to clean space junk
Waste is not an exclusive problem happening only in land. In space, according to BBC, orbit 7500 tons of space junk. For this reason, the International Space Station launched a satellite to clean up the garbage that surrounds the planet.
Leer en español: Basura Espacial: Conoce el satélite que podría limpiar el espacio
The name of this satellite is Remove Debris. As its name implies, the objective of the satellite is to remove the debris that orbits the planet. For this, the Remove Debris will use a harpoon and a net.
According to NASA, a large amount of debris has been generated since the beginning of the space age. The agency says that "most of the objects launched into space still orbit around the Earth and today these objects and their byproducts represent a threat both in space and on Earth. In space, debris can cause collisions and potential damage to operational satellites, which can affect services on the ground".
For this reason, different academic and political institutions came together to carry out the development of this project. Some of the organizations are the Surrey Space Center, the Center Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique, University of Surrey, and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. Furthermore, the project has the technical and monetary backing of Europe, so the European Commission contributed $ 17.5 million dollars for the development of this satellite.
Due to the danger that space debris represents for the planet, it is essential to find effective methods. Nasa emphasizes that, on the one hand, space debris can cause problems for operational spacecraft. On the other hand, "in the worst case, one collision leads to another and, finally, all the spacecraft on which the Internet connection depends, the electronic mail, navigation through the global positioning system (GPS) and the use of mobile phones are affected. "
What are the objectives of Remove Debris?
Nasa assures that "the specific key technologies that will be demonstrated as part of this project are: capture methods that include a net and a harpoon; Rapid demonstration of orbital removal technology through the drag sail; and proximity detection for encounter operations using vision-based navigation".
What are the satellite applications?
The space agency stresses that Remove Debris has two applications, one spatial and one terrestrial. As for the first, the satellite will help to guarantee safer space flights for both the ships and the crew. Additionally, removing debris will allow the International Space Station not to dodge space debris.
As for the second application, collisions caused by space debris could be reduced and prevent vital services from being endangered, such as cell phones service.
LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
Translated from “Basura Espacial: Conoce el satélite que podría limpiar el espacio”