The first-ever satellite to test possible solutions in cleaning up space junk has been deployed by the International Space Station (ISS) and would soon begin experiments in orbit.
The Britain-built satellite, named RemoveDEBRIS mission, is one of the world’s first attempts to tackle the build-up of dangerous space debris orbiting the Earth, the British space agency said in a statement late on Friday.
The 100-kg RemoveDebris spacecraft will attempt to capture simulated space debris using a net and a harpoon while also testing advanced cameras and radar systems.
The experiment is important as there are thousands of pieces of space debris circulating the planet, many travelling faster than a speeding bullet, posing a risk to valuable satellites and even the International Space Station itself, the report stated.
Once the experiments are complete, it will unfurl a drag sail to bring itself and the debris out of orbit, where it will burn up as it enters the earth’s atmosphere.
“If successful, the technologies found in RemoveDEBRIS could be included in other missions in the very near future,” said Guglielmo Aglietti, Professor at the University of Surrey.
The RemoveDEBRIS mission is led by the varsity and built by the world’s leading small satellite manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), with technology on board designed by Airbus.
It was launched on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from Florida in April.