After an undertaking last month at catching a fake piece of garbage in orbit, Astroscale says “it’s ready to launch a ‘space junk servicer’ test in late 2024.”
The Tokyo-based company is collaborating with broadband satellite provider OneWeb to undertake the ELSA-M mission “with ambitious plans to deliver a space debris removal service to satellite operators thereafter,” the company announced in a statement on May 27th
The European Space Agency (ESA) and the U.K. The Space Agency donated €14.8 million ($15.9 million) in financial assistance for the mission.
“This spacecraft will demonstrate our innovative rendezvous, capture, and deorbit capabilities with a full-size constellation client,” John Auburn, Astroscale’s managing director, announced in the statement.
“We plan to launch our commercial service for satellite operators, such as OneWeb and others, soon after the in-orbit demonstration, with a vision to make debris removal part of routine operations by 2030,” Auburn added.
The objective is to enable this service to capture and deorbit several satellites in low Earth orbit during its mission once the satellites drive out of fuel or regarding failure.
SpaceX has revealed several measures to neutralize debris issues. The company says it proactively deorbited satellites when their mission was finalized and equipped them with autonomous navigation technology to drive away from trouble. SpaceX delivered a proposal to the FCC in February to put 30,000 more Starlink internet satellites into orbit.