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ISS deploys a 100 kg Spacecraft to clean up space junk orbiting the Earth

ISS deploys a 100 kg Spacecraft to clean up space junk in orbits of Earth
Photo: University of Surrey via NASA.

International Space Station(ISS) has deployed a satellite for testing solutions in clearing up space garbage. It is expected to begin experiments in orbit soon.

Deployed on June 20, 2018, it is named as the RemoveDebris mission. It will be one of the largest ever satellite deployed from the Space Station. It had been moved into an airlock by astronaut Ricky Arnold, who works with NASA.

This satellite was built by Britain and is known as world’s first attempts to tackle the build-up of harmful garbage in the space orbiting the Earth.

This spacecraft which is about 100-kg is trained to capture simulated space debris with the help of a net and a harpoon. It will also test advanced cameras and radar systems for this mission.

This experiment is seen as an important development because there are thousands of pieces of space debris which are circulating the planet and thus polluting it. Many of them travel much faster than a speeding bullet, which can pose a real risk to valuable satellites and even the International Space Station itself, it is feared.

RemoveDebris is a unique initiative of its kind. The existing technologies on the earth have never been demonstrated in space before, on such a level. It is good that people are starting to realise the significance of space junk and the problem it presents, in the real sense, a researcher said.

Once the experiments are done with, it will drag a sail to bring itself and the garbage thus collected out of orbit. Then, it will be burned up when it enters the earth’s atmosphere.

If proved successful, the techniques of RemoveDEBRIS could be included in other missions in the time to come.

Presently, the RemoveDEBRIS mission is being operated by Satellite manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Limited. The credit for the technology goes to Airbus. It was projected on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from Florida, US in April this year only.

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