A New Satellite Was Launched To Protect Our Planet Against Space Debris

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Scientists from developed a new satellite that will act as a harpoon. Named “RemoveDEBRIS” the satellite was launched in order to protect the planet against space debris. At the moment there are around 8,000 tonnes of space junk, and they are travelling at 30,000 mph speeds.

The satellite was already tested. A panel was dangled like a piece of space debris and the harpoon was fired at it. It was fired at 20 metres a second and it managed to penetrate the target perfectly. This shows us just how the satellite will deal with space debris in the future. This trial was the third experiment involving RemoveDEBRIS, and all the experiments have been successful so far.

In the previous experiments the satellite used its state-of-the-art LiDAR and camera-based vision navigation system in order to identify the space debris. Then, the on-board net was also used to capture some space junk.

“Space debris can have serious consequences for our communications systems if it smashes into satellites. This inspiring project shows that UK experts are coming up with answers for this potential problem using a harpoon, a tool people have used throughout history.

This mission is a powerful example of the UK’s expertise in space technology and that by working together our world-class universities and innovative companies can hugely contribute to the government’s aims for a highly skilled economy through our modern Industrial Strategy,” Chris Skidmore MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, declared.

Final experiment

There is one final experience planned. This will take place next month and this time the satellite will inflate a sail which will drag the satellite back into the atmosphere of Earth, which will destroy it. “This is RemoveDEBRIS’ most demanding experiment and the fact that it was a success is testament to all involved,” concluded Professor Guglielmo Aglietti, Director of the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey.


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