British mission wants to test giant net and harpoon to collect space debris

British mission wants to test giant net and harpoon to collect space debris


The Space Centre of Surrey, UK, said that the mission to collect space debris, RemoveDEBRIS, will be launched early next year . There are many technologies to remove more than 7,000 tons of garbage that are in Earth orbit, representing a collision risk to satellites and spacecraft. But Remove DEBRIS mission is the first that will test some methods to see how they fare in the task of collecting the greatest amount of waste.

On the one hand, we have the space network, which is basically a giant network made to capture small pieces and large garbage that are drifting into space and bring them back to our planet. Another method is the space harpoon, which consists of a kind of harpoon that reach individual garbage pieces, pulling them to the aircraft. In both cases, the idea is to bring back the garbage to be burned in our atmosphere.

There is also a third option, which is to put a drag sail (or solar sail) in future satellites to be launched. The idea is to turn the candle and take the space debris from its orbit with the help of light photons from the Sun. This process will cause the garbage come toward Earth and is destroyed by contact with our atmosphere.

But let us be practical. We’re talking about space harpoons and giant networks, so we spend less time worrying about the inclusion of drag candles and talk about more fun things like see the special harpoon pitch during space junk hunting.

Watch This demonstration model made by the Space Centre of Surrey and being displayed at The Royal Society :

harpao-lixoespacial

And the network:

rede-lixoespacial

This here is the drag sail:

dragsail-lixoespacial

In its initial stage, the RemoveDEBRIS will test which of these three tools is more effective in collecting space debris, without attempting to make a large-scale cleanup.

Unfortunately, this initial mission will not collect the existing waste. First, RemoveDEBRIS will play new pieces of space junk in orbit and try to catch them. To get an idea of the process, imagine a team of roadside wipers road playing a lot of cans on site and then take them one by one. This makes the fair test, however, because the harpoon, this kind of floater and the network will try to capture waste known shapes and sizes.


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British mission wants to test giant net and harpoon to collect space debris

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