The spacecraft RemoveDEBRIS, sent to the ISS using the carrier rocket company SpaceX this summer, I was able to capture the network improvised a fragment of space debris orbiting the planet for the first time demonstrated the real potential of this technology for cleaning up near-earth space.
The implementation of the experimental phase of the mission began on 16 September, when a satellite weighing 100 kilograms shot network a width of 5 meters in a previously released them as a small object. If the network was used for capturing the real space debris, the satellite would have towed it to a lower orbit, and after the debris would burn upon reentry.
Video capture of the released object network:
Professor Guglielmo Aletti, scientific Director of the experiment RemoveDebris, shared the joy from a well-conducted experiment:
“We are in absolute awe of the technology results of the network capture. It may seem a simple idea, the complexity of using a network in space to capture part of the debris took many years of planning, development and coordination between the space centre University of Surrey, Airbus and our partners, but there is still a lot of work. This is a very exciting time for us all.”
“To create a network capture of space debris we have 6 years were tested in parabolic flights, in a special vertical stands, as well as in thermal vacuum chambers. Our small team of engineers and technicians did an amazing job, making us one step closer to cleaning low earth orbit,” adds Ingo Retat project Manager from the company Airbus.
In the future, the team RemoveDebris plans to test other developments: a computer vision system based on optical cameras, lidar technology to track potential targets, capture technology the major goals of the harpoon, and also of space sail, by which the debris can be towed to Earth’s atmosphere where it will burn in the fall.
American Space Surveillance Network that tracks orbiting around 40,000 different objects and estimate that near-earth space is 7600 tons of space debris, moving at a speed of 50 thousand kilometers an hour. According to other organizations in Earth orbit can be up to half a million fragments of space debris that pose a danger to satellites and other spacecraft.
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