The World’s First Commercial Satellite Aiming at Removing Space Debris Was Launched

The World’s First Commercial Satellite Aiming at Removing Space Debris Was Launched
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The Earth’s orbit has a lot of space junk, whether astronomers like to admit it or not. Cleaning all that debris would be a great idea, as space exploration could be severely jeopardized.

As The Jerusalem Post reveals and the Japanese space start-up Astroscale announced, the satellite End-of-Life Services by Astroscale demonstration (ELSA-d) is the new gear aiming to solve a lot of problems. The satellite will be serving as a proof of concept for space-cleaning missions set for the goal of reducing the space junk from the Earth’s orbit.

Magnetically attaching will be the key

The satellite will magnetically attach to broken satellites, analyze them and remove them from orbit. The commercial satellite will also dock with both tumbling and stable debris. A Soyuz 2.1a rocket deployed by GK Launch Services from Kazakhstan carried the ELSA-d satellite into space along with 37 other payloads.

Nobu Okada, the CEO of Astroscale, declared:

Our journey to this point has been long, challenging and rewarding – now begins a trailblazing journey for ELSA-d itself.

He also added:

A new era of space sustainability starts with this shipment, and watching ELSA-d leave our Tokyo headquarters was a powerful moment.

As an Astroscale representative reveals, one similar mission was attempted before, but the gear didn’t make it into orbit because of a failure of the launch rocket.

Founded in 2013, Astroscale is a private company specialized in removing orbital debris. Headquartered in Tokyo, the company is developing debris removal services to mitigate the hazardous buildup of debris from space.

Astroscales also has offices in the United Kingdom, the United States, Israel, and Singapore, and it was founded by IT entrepreneur Mitsunobu “Nobu” Okada.


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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