Earthly/Geo/Astro · Technology

Switzerland to Build ‘Janitor Satellite’ to Clean Up Space

Earth is surrounded by a cloud of more than half a million pieces of space junk, from bus-size spent rocket stages to tiny flecks of paint. Orbiting at breakneck speeds, every last bit poses grave dangers — and means huge insurance premiums — for operational satellites, and it threatens the International Space Station, too. Every time two orbiting objects collide, they break up into thousands more pieces of debris.

To combat this growing headache, Swiss scientists and engineers have announced the launch of CleanSpace One, a project to build the first in a family of “janitor” satellites that will help clean up space.

To be launched as soon as three to five years from now, CleanSpace One will rendezvous with one of two defunct objects in orbit, either the Swisscube picosatellite, or its cousin TIsat, both 1,000 cubic centimeters (61 cubic inches) in size. When the janitor satellite reaches its target, it will extend a grappling arm, grab it and then plunge into Earth’s atmosphere, burning up itself and the space junk during re-entry.

Via Life’s Little Mysteries. Continue HERE

Space Debris

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A quick history of satellites in space

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